Voting opens for parents to choose who will run their local schools
Parents in four areas can start voting today on who they want to run a new post-primary school in their locality.
The Department of Education has launched a new "one-stop shop" website where parents can directly compare different patron bodies and then register a preference.
The schools, which will open in 2019, will serve communities in the Belmayne/Clongriffin area of Dublin 13, Galway City/Oranmore, Laytown/Drogheda and Wicklow.
A number of patrons have expressed an interest in running each of the schools and have supplied a range of information, such as about ethos, for the website.
Parents will be able to choose a religious-run school or a multi-denominational or non-denominational patron.
They will also be able to express a preference for a school offering Irish-medium instruction.
Parents of children within five years of starting post-primary school will be eligible to vote in the Online Patronage Process System process, which will remain open until July 31.
Options on offer are similar across all areas, with four patrons bidding to win the hearts and minds of parents in each case.
Three have a multi- denominational or non-denominational ethos: Educate Together, a local education and training board and a relatively new patron body, Scoil Sinéad, with particular expertise in dealing with children with special needs.
Denominational patrons have also applied to run each school: the Le Chéile Schools Trust in Belmayne/Clongriffin and Wicklow; the Bishop of Tuam, Killala & Achonry in Galway/Oranmore and the Loreto Education Trust in Laytown/Drogheda.