Tuesday 12 December 2017

Baptism rule for schools to stay, says Church

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin

Sarah MacDonald

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has defended Catholic schools' right to prioritise children who are baptised.

The Archbishop, who is patron of 470 primary schools in the archdiocese of Dublin, said: "In Catholic schools, they obviously prioritise people who are Catholic."

He was responding to a parent's claim at the weekend that her four-year-old son had been denied a place in several primary schools in south Dublin because he was not baptised.

Dr Martin suggested the real problem was "a lack of places", which was also an issue for the non-denominational Educate Together schools in some areas.

And he said a problem for Catholic schools was that "the vast majority of them" had a reputation for being a good educator and so "everybody wants to go there", leading to oversubscription.

He said that the process of divesting "to guarantee a plurality of patronage in education" was "too slow". However, he said: "It is not fair to blame the Church."

Instead the Church leader pointed to the opposition within communities where schools are selected for divestment, as well as from local politicians.

Irish Independent

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