11 April 2019, The Tablet

Irish diocese halts controversial schools programme

A vote on the future of Catholic primary schools in north Dublin has had to be postponed after opposition was voiced by parents and staff at two of the eight schools concerned about their transfer to other patron bodies, writes Sarah Mac Donald.

The Department of Education is currently seeking to divest patronage from some Catholic schools in Ireland in order to provide greater diversity and reflect recent changes in Irish society.

Under current plans, one of the eight Catholic primary schools in the Portmarnock-Malahide-Kinsealy area of north Dublin is due to transfer its patronage to either the multidenominational Educate Together body, or the multidenominational Community National Schools, or An Foras Pátrúnachta.

Letters sent to parents at two of the eight schools suggested that a change in patronage would mean students would no longer celebrate Christmas, St Patrick’s Day or Easter, and it would also mean no more nativity plays, carol services or preparation for Holy Communion during school time.

Following protests by parents, the episcopal vicar for education for the Archdiocese of Dublin, Monsignor Dan O’Connor, wrote to the schools informing them of the decision to postpone the vote, which was due to take place this week.

Referring to “confusion and misinformation” among parents, pupils and the schools over the divestment process, Mgr O’Connor said the archdiocese recognised that the “prospect of change can be difficult”.

  Loading ...
Get Instant Access
Subscribe to The Tablet for just £7.99

Subscribe today to take advantage of our introductory offers and enjoy 30 days' access for just £7.99