Education and parental choice


Sir, – David Graham (Letters, June 27th) is wrong. Far from being “deeply flawed in principle and unworkable in practice”, the co-existence of faith and secular schools is actually what we have at present, and what many democracies have world-wide. In my previous letter, I was simply arguing for continuance of this system, while conceding that the relative numbers of each type of school would likely change, to reflect population changes which Mr Graham had correctly identified.

If Muslims and Hindus are being unfairly treated under the present system, they are free to bring their concerns to the Department of Education, and to ascertain what steps must be taken in order to have more of their own schools provided to them. It is people like Mr Graham, not Catholics, who might have a problem with that.

The same applies to the large number of unbelievers in our society. We Catholics are not stopping them from having their own schools.

When Mr Graham refers to taxpayer-funded schools, he ignores two realities. Catholics (and I think that it is Catholics who are his real target here) are taxpayers too. And Catholics, as private citizens, contributed in the past to the setting up of these schools – that is why these schools are in Catholic ownership.

One final point. Mr Graham refers to “the evangelisation of children against their parents’ beliefs and lawful preference”, which does not sound to me even remotely close to what happens in our existing system, but does seem like a very good description of what he and his organisation want to impose on Catholics, and other religions, under the alternative system which he proposes. – Yours, etc,



Co Waterford.

Sir, – When I was the parent of a school-going child, I was never overly upset or obsessed at religion being part of the curriculum. I was concerned that the schools delivered a balanced and decent education at primary and secondary level. And this they did. David Graham of Education Equality thinks otherwise and, as is not uncommon in these debates, uses Census 2016 statistics and “tax-funded schools” promoting a particular faith in his argument.

Some 78 per cent of respondents declared themselves as Roman Catholic in the very same census which Mr Graham quotes. Assuming that parents are Roman Catholic, and tax-paying citizens of this State, it is entirely reasonable that they have the freedom to choose a tax-funded school that promotes their faith of choice. – Yours, etc,


Rosslare Harbour,

Co Wexford.