News archive 2008

Bishops meet Minister for Education and Science Batt O’Keeffe TD

PRESS RELEASE
12 November 2008

Bishops meet Minister for Education and Science Batt O’Keeffe TD

Members of the Commission on Education of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference today met with the Minister for Education and Science Mr Batt O’Keeffe TD. The meeting took place in Government Buildings and addressed the issue of the provision of religious education for Catholic children in Community National Schools. 

The Bishops confirmed again their desire to see the additional model of patronage in Community National Schools succeed. They emphasised their wish to be able to assure Catholic parents of pupils in Community National Schools that their children would follow the same religious education programme as in a Catholic school.

The Minister reaffirmed the policy on religious education in these schools as announced by Minister Hanafin on 13 December 2007. This announcement stated that the new schools would be “aiming to provide for religious education and faith formation during the school day for each of the main faith groups represented”.

Minister O’Keeffe gave an assurance that the commitment to provide religious instruction and faith formation during the school day on a denominational basis for the pupils whose parents request it stands.

The Minister also added that the Community National School will be an additional model of patronage and is not designed to replace existing models.

After the meeting Bishop Leo O’Reilly, Chair of the Bishops’ Education Commission said: “We had a cordial and constructive meeting with the Minister and his officials and we are reassured by the outcome.  We welcome the Minister’s reaffirmation of the policy on religious education provision originally announced and we look forward to it being implemented accordingly. Once again we welcome this additional model of patronage and wish it well.”

Notes for Editors

The Bishops delegation consisted of:
  • Bishop Donal Murray, Chair of the Bishops’ Department of Catholic Education and Formation;
  • Bishop Leo O’Reilly, Chair of the Bishops’ Commission on Education;
  • Bishop Brendan Kelly, Member of the Bishops’ Commission on Education;
  • Monsignor James Cassin, Executive Secretary of the Bishops’ Commission on Education;
  • Monsignor Lorcan O’Brien, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Dublin;
  • Monsignor Dan O’Connor, Member of the Bishops’ Commission on Education and Parish Priest of Dún Laoghaire/Glasthule.
Further information:
Martin Long, Director of Communications (086 172 7678)
Brenda Drumm, Communications Officer (087 233 7797)

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