A PRIMARY school is to ballot parents over a demand by three families to have the 2014 Holy Communion date changed because it clashes with a One Direction concert.
The move came after the three families that have children attending Raheen Gaelscoil in Limerick objected to the May 24 date, which had been provisionally earmarked by the local parish priest, because their children had booked tickets for the boy band's concert in Dublin's Croke Park that day.
A meeting in the school on Tuesday night became extremely heated when the parents involved insisted that the date be changed – while other parents became incensed at what one described as the "disrespect shown to the blessed sacrament".
When it was impossible to agree on the alternative May 3 date, the school meeting was ended.
Children were yesterday sent home with notes advising parents that a ballot will now be taken amongst the 30 families who have children in the Holy Communion class.
"A lot of parents, who had no problem with the date, contacted the school subsequently to express their outrage at the (perceived) disrespect shown to the blessed sacrament," a school source confirmed.
Some parents had no principled objection to a change of date once there was proper justification.
"They just didn't think a pop concert was a good enough reason," one relative said.
Parents will now ballot on whether Holy Communion should go ahead on the date selected (May 24) or the alternative date (May 3).
School officials said they believe there is an emerging majority in favour of proceeding with the original date.
The controversy erupted after a number of schools in Cork and Dublin previously selected Holy Communion dates to avoid a clash with the sell-out concert series following early representations from both parents and children.
The boy band (inset) first played Dublin's O2 in 2011 as part of the 'X Factor' tour after they finished third in the hit television show.
They will play three gigs in Croke Park from May 23-25 as part of their mammoth 'Where We Are' tour.
Tickets for the gigs sold out within minutes of going on sale.
The band, which has only been together three years, now has a combined estimated wealth of almost €40m.
One Direction have already topped the US and UK single, album and even best-selling book charts.