‘Stubborn reluctance’ and school divestment


Sir, – I note that the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin, has stated that the church seems unwilling to remove itself from its involvement in State-funded schools. (“Church has ‘stubborn reluctance’ towards school divestment”, July 11th).

When one speaks about the “church” in this context, one presumably means the key decision-makers in the church, rather than the ordinary church members such as myself.

The key decision-makers are the hierarchy of senior priests, of which Archbishop Diarmuid Martin himself is a member.

The archbishop has a wonderful opportunity to influence events. He is the ex officio chairman of the board of directors of two Dublin State-funded hospitals, Crumlin Children’s Hospital and the National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street. He could set an example of divestment by resigning from both those positions, making way for non-religious replacements. He is also in a powerful position to encourage religious orders within his sphere of influence to withdraw from involvement in both schools and hospitals.

In addition, he has the position and influence to organise a national, public discussion forum to debate the withdrawal of the church from State-funded institutions, to look at the obstacles to withdrawal, and to discuss alternative forms of management structures in these institutions. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 4.