Martin welcomes diversity in school patronage

Two Catholic schools involved in landmark amalgamation to make room for Educuate Together

The Archbishop of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin speaking to children before he celebrated Mass in St James primary school in Basin Lane, Dublin, one of the first Catholic schools to amalgamate to allow for more plurality in education in the local area. Photograph: John McElroy.

The Archbishop of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin speaking to children before he celebrated Mass in St James primary school in Basin Lane, Dublin, one of the first Catholic schools to amalgamate to allow for more plurality in education in the local area. Photograph: John McElroy.

Tue, Apr 1, 2014, 19:59

Pluralism in education “should not produce negative rivalry or antagonism or give rise to elitism or social division”, the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said yesterday as he oversaw a change of school patronage in the capital yesterday.

Diversity, he said, was “something welcome. The fruits of such pluralism will have to be measured, however, not just in the provision of schools, but in an outcome in which every school, independent of its patronage, becomes a places of welcome for the deprived, the marginalized and those with educational challenges,” he said.

He was speaking at “the heartland of Catholic education in Dublin” in the city’s Basin Lane area where he celebrated Mass in one of the first Catholic schools to amalgamate to allow for more plurality in education.

The event at St James’s primary school was “an important landmark in the history of Catholic Education in the area,” he said. There, two local Catholic boys and girls schools have amalgamated to form a co-educational primary school, St James’s. It allows for the creation of a new Educate Together school in the vactated premises.

The schools concerned were St James’s CBS for boys and the Mater Dei national school for girls. Both have been amalgamated on the Mater Dei national school premises in what is now known as St James’s primary school.

Among those in attendance yesterday were Paul Rowe chief executive of Educate Together and Imam Ismail Kotwal of the Black Pitts mosque in Dublin.

Archbishop Martin said “what is happening here this morning is the expression not of a retreat from the tradition of Catholic education, but of the beginnings of a new presence. We come to bless the fruit of this amalgamation which witnesses both the rich heritage of the past, but also recognition of a changed Ireland. ”

Catholic education “still has its vital place in our educational system,” he said, “at the same time we welcome the fact that in this area there will be other schools which embrace a different ethos and will contribute, in their way, to the rightful pluralism of educational provision in today’s Dublin.”

He said “in that spirit we wish success to the Educate Together School which has been established in this widerarea.”

The Christian Brothers founded their first school in Dublin at Basin Lane in 1820 while the Religious Sisters of Charity had been involved in education there since 1874.

“These have been great schools which have offered educational opportunity to young people in this area of Dublin in difficult times and provided schools which have produced generations of young men and women who have availed of and benefitted from an educational opportunity which they might never have otherwise have encountered,” Archbishop Martin said.