Labour deputies round on 'gaffe-prone' Quinn over comments on religion in schools
LABOUR politicians have rounded on Education Minister Ruairi Quinn over his controversial comments on the teaching of religion in schools, the Irish Independent can reveal.
Mr Quinn has been heavily criticised by members of his own party after stating that primary schools should divert time spent teaching religion to areas such as English and Maths.
Labour TD for Dublin Mid-West, Robert Dowds, described the Minister's comments as "inept and inappropriate".
"Even from an entirely secular point of view, the Minister's views are wrong.
"No child could possibly understand this country and its history and culture, the societies and cultures of our European neighbours without a knowledge or understanding of Christianity," he told the Irish Independent.
Several other TDs have privately criticised Mr Quinn, with one deputy describing him as "gaffe prone". Another deputy said that he has been contacted by a number of constituents "livid" at the comments.
Mr Quinn was also strongly criticised last night by a prominent Labour councillor and serving school principal.
Clondalkin representative Breeda Bonner, who is principal of St Bernadette's National School in Quarryvale, described the Minister's remarks as "misguided".
"I was appalled by what I heard the Minister say. Ruairi Quinn was misguided in what he said," she added.
A spokeswoman for Mr Quinn told the Irish Independent that the remarks represented the minister's "personal views".