Opinion Letters

Saturday 17 March 2018

Labour looking for a scapegoat

Madam -- Re Eilis O'Hanlon and Labour's attitude to Protestant schools: When the Irish Constitution of 1937 removed recognition of the special position of the Roman Catholic Church by referendum in 1972, it also removed the State's recognition of minority churches such as the Church of Ireland, the Presbyterians, the Methodists, the Quakers and the Jewish congregations. Of course, the Constitution was so cleverly framed that one could not have minority recognition without acknowledging the church of the majority of the population.

Eilis O'Hanlon now berates the Labour Party for its form of 'apartheid' (Sunday Independent, October 14, 2012) and for using bully-boy tactics against a minority who use fee-paying schools. It is a pity that when Donagh O'Malley introduced free education in 1966, he did not find a way to 'ring-fence' the special position of minority Protestant schools. He is considered a hero to Irish Protestants.

The attack of the Labour Party on fee-paying schools in general and, by implication, the Protestant minority schools smacks of desperation. They have signed up to swingeing cuts in health and social welfare and are looking for a scapegoat to vent their frustrations as Sinn Fein rises in popularity and may well overtake them at the next general election.

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