Wednesday 28 September 2016

Tensions in Coalition over 'school baptisms'

Philip Ryan and Sam Griffin

Published 07/08/2015 | 02:30

Jan O'Sullivan
Jan O'Sullivan

Labour Party Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan has come under attack from Fine Gael TDs for insisting no one should be forced to baptise their child to get them into a particular school.

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Fine Gael TDs rounded on Ms O'Sullivan for broaching the divisive subject of school patronage so close to an election.

And she was criticised for not doing enough to ensure parents are not forced to baptise their children to secure school places.

Speaking to the Irish Independent yesterday, Ms O'Sullivan said she would like to see the education system changed so church schools could not pick children based on their faith.

Ms O'Sullivan was hitting back at Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, who defended the rights of Catholic-run schools to prioritise baptised children.

However, Fine Gael Junior Minister and Tipperary TD Tom Hayes said the Coalition should focus on selling economic progress rather than drift into debates on contentious issues.

The party's Cork North-West TD Aine Collins said she understood the problems facing families trying to get school places but also said now was not the time to have the debate.

Irish Independent

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