Schools and patronage

 

Sir, – Mr Rob Sadlier (January 21st) evidently did not read my letter carefully since he claims that I am “either oblivious to, or conveniently [ignore], the fact” that article 42.1 of the Constitution “is equally applicable to parents or children of minority faiths and none”. I am acutely aware of that fact, which is why I wrote about parents’ delegating their responsibility to “the churches (or to other educational bodies like Educate Together)...”

Note the plural of churches – and the reference to other educational bodies.

Perhaps Mr Sadlier might ask himself, why children of non-Christian immigrants “new to the parish” have on the whole integrated so well into Irish life. Most attend schools run by the churches. Evidently, their parents are happy to send their children to church-run schools – and the children are happy to be there.

Those same primary schools under the patronage of the two main churches produced many, if not most, of the 1,000 students, whose teachers and parents are rightly praised by Mr Shay Walsh in his letter (January 21st) for promoting a “genuine love and enthusiasm for science”.

Admittedly, some atheists will never be happy about any school that attempts to provide for the “religious and moral, intellectual, physical and social education of their children” (article 42.1) fearing such influence on their own children.

Considering the number of non-practising and non-believing alumni of such schools, some high-profile, such fears are hardly justified. – Yours, etc,

D VINCENT

TWOMEY, SVD

Divine Word Missionaries,

Donamon,

Roscommon.