A delegation from the Church of Ireland has met representatives of Fianna Fail to outline their serious concerns with Government proposals on the role of religion in school admissions. The delegation met with Fianna Fail Spokesperson on Education, Thomas Byrne TD, Fianna Fail Chairperson of the Oireachtas Committee on Education, Fiona O Loughlin TD and Fianna Fail Spokesperson on Urban Renewal and Housing, Pat Casey TD.
During the meeting the delegation emphasised the serious concern expressed across Church of Ireland communities that the proposals being advanced by Minister Richard Bruton would undermine minority faith schools. In particular the wide catchment areas that many Church of Ireland Schools serve, combined with the absence of choice of local national and secondary schools for Protestant families was emphasised. The importance of retaining Section 7 (3) (c) of the Equal Status Act was also stressed by the delegation, which comprised representatives of Church of Ireland primary and post primary schools, as well as the Board of Education.
The Fianna Fail representatives said that they recognised the concerns that have been voiced by minority faith schools and would work to ensure that any reforms introduced by the Government would make provision for the important role these schools play in sustaining and supporting local Church of Ireland communities.
Representing the COI at the meeting with Fianna Fail were:
Garrett Fennell Chairperson Temple Carrig School, Greystones; the Revd Nigel Waugh, Chair of Delgany National School; the Revd Janice Aiton, Chair of St Peters National School in Dunboyne; Dr Ken Fennelly, Secretary, Board of Education; and Tony Goodwin BL, advisor to the Board of Education on Admissions.