There was no great surprise over yesterday's Supreme Court ruling. Had it gone the other way, it could have resulted in a 'free for all' with school admission policies torn up all over the place.
One can't but have admiration for Mary Stokes and her determination to get a good education for her son John. She claimed indirect discrimination against Travellers when he was refused a place in the High School in Clonmel. Had his father attended the school, even briefly, then John would have been guaranteed admission as sons of past pupils are given priority.
There are schools that deliberately put up what are sometimes termed 'soft barriers' to Travellers, those with special needs, ethnic minorities, etc, but the High School is not one of them. It has a good solid reputation, has already enrolled at least eight Traveller children in the past few years and doesn't drop hints to parents that their children would be better off in some other school that could cater for their specific needs.
Its good reputation is the reason it landed in court in the first place as it attracts more applicants than it can cater for.
John was among nearly 40 refused admission, simply because there were too many applicants when he tried to enrol in 2010. Sons of past pupils took up many of the available places. But the case does raise a host of issues about admission policies generally. Complaints about admission, or more accurately, non-admission to over-subscribed schools are becoming more common and often end up in time-consuming and expensive appeals procedures or with the Office of the Children's Ombudsman.
The Clonmel case will put pressure on Minister Jan O'Sullivan to push the Education (Admission to School) Bill forward quickly. It aims to make the admissions process more inclusive and equitable and ensure that the way schools decide on applications is structured, fair and transparent. It's one of four education bills on the Government's Legislative Programme for the first half of 2015.
But there are 37 other bills from other Ministers and we all know that the machinery of government grinds exceedingly slow. June 2011 saw the publication by her predecessor Ruairi Quinn of a discussion document on a regulatory framework for school enrolment - nearly four years later and the promised legislation still has not been passed.
Admissions are becoming an increasingly vexed issue as society becomes more diverse and the school system struggles to cater for a very different mix of pupils. At primary level, there is insufficient choice of school types in most parts of the country. This absence is putting enrolment under the spotlight in some areas. Because of pressure in the cities, some Catholic schools are now seeking baptism certs for future pupils. This poses a problem for parents of non-baptised children, especially when there is no room for them in the insufficient number of local multi-denominational schools.
In rural areas, parents who don't want a religious ethos for their children's education often have no choice, largely because the Catholic Church is so slow about divesting even a small number of its 3,000 schools. Archbishop Diarmiud Martin commented last year that there is no divine right to a Catholic near monopoly in education in Ireland. His remarks have largely gone unheeded as progress in divesting Catholic schools is still painstakingly slow.
He also criticised parents who opt out of pluralism and keep their children away from schools that have a high proportion of disadvantaged children.
He could have added immigrant children. New figures yesterday reaffirmed that they are concentrated in a small number of primary schools.
Four out of five immigrant children are concentrated in just 23pc of the State's primary schools.
Clearly some Dublin parents are driving their children past schools that cater for disadvantaged and ethnic groups to white, middle-class schools elsewhere.
It's a form of "drive by discrimination" Irish society could do without.
John Walshe is an education consultant and was an adviser to former Education Minister Ruairí Quinn