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Minister Ruairi Quinn ‘upset’ at treatment of single mum pupil

EDUCATION Minister Ruairi Quinn said today that he was ‘‘upset’’ and ‘’concerned’’ at the treatment meted out to a pregnant teenager who was refused enrolment at a private Catholic secondary school.

The school in Munster has earlier asked to apologise to a teenager who was refused a place on the grounds that the school "was not a haven for young pregnant people’’.

The Minister toId RTE’s Drivetime that the method of enrolment by a minority of secondary schools lacked transparency and that it was something that was being looked at.

The girl had applied twice to the lay-owned Catholic school, first in September 2009 when she was pregnant and again the following year after her child was born. She was turned down both times by the principal, founder and patron of the school..

According to the report by the Ombudsman for Children Emily Logan, the girl was denied a place at the school on the first occasion because she was pregnant and on the second because she was a single mother.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Ms Logan said that there is currently no enrolment legislation that would prevent a school from acting in this way.

However, Ms Logan said the ‘’spirit’’ of the Education Act is about accessibility and access, and that the principal did not operate in adherence with that.