School provision a Catholic right, says cardinal


CATHOLIC PRIMATE Cardinal Seán Brady has reiterated the church’s commitment to the provision of schools.

He also defended the policy that Catholic parents have first claim on places in such schools.

“The Catholic Church is committed to providing Catholic schools to cater for the needs of parents who wish to exercise their constitutional right to the provision of faith education,” he added.

He was speaking at an event to publicise Catholic Schools Week 2012 in St Mary’s College, Dundalk, Co Louth.

The event continues until February 4th.

He said that, “not unreasonably, I believe, the church holds the view that the children of Catholic parents have first claim on admission to Catholic schools, just as Protestant children have first claim to admission to Protestant schools, and Muslim children have first claim to admission to Islamic schools and so on.

“Of course wherever possible – provided they have places and resources – Catholic schools welcome children of all faiths and none.”

At the same event, Sr Marianne O’Connor, director general of Conference of Religious of Ireland, said she was “glad today to be able to reaffirm our commitment to supporting Catholic education into the future, notwithstanding the radically changed landscape in the Ireland of the 21st century”.

New forms of trusteeship for schools would “foster the Catholic education needs of children for generations to come”, Sr O’Connor said.

Last week Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordán, vice-chairman of the Oireachtas education committee, said that “religious ethos has no place in the educational system of a modern republic”.

Mr Ó Ríordán told the Irish Catholicnewspaper that changes to the law were necessary.

The law should be amended so that “faith-based schools would be unable to reserve places for children of a particular denomination where a school is oversubscribed”, he said.