Sunday 22 April 2018

Probe after bishops block school textbook

Bishops recently wrote to schools, effectively blocking the use of a new textbook that was not produced by their own publishing house, Veritas. Photo: PA
Bishops recently wrote to schools, effectively blocking the use of a new textbook that was not produced by their own publishing house, Veritas. Photo: PA
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

A state watchdog is examining a complaint that Catholic bishops may be breaking competition law around what textbooks their primary schools can use for religion classes.

Bishops recently wrote to schools, effectively blocking the use of a new textbook that was not produced by their own publishing house, Veritas.

The letters arrived soon after educational publishers CJ Fallon started promoting its 'Friends in Faith' in competition with Veritas' 'Grow in Love'.

It raised some concerns about a possible abuse of a dominant position, as the bishops control 90pc of primary schools.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) told the Irish Independent it had received a complaint about the matter, but could not comment yet as to whether it constituted a breach of the law.

The CCPC spokesperson said complaints go through a rigorous screening process to establish if competition law may apply and, if so, what possible breaches may have occurred.

"If a suspected breach is found then the CCPC may open a full investigation. As this complaint is currently undergoing the CCPC's screening process, we are not in the position to provide any more information at present," it said.

A spokesperson for the bishops previously said CJ Fallon had not submitted its books to a review process to ensure conformity with the curriculum and with Catholic doctrine of religious education materials.

CJ Fallon has not commented, but the company's promotional material states the programme is in line with religion curriculum guidelines.

Irish Independent

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