16 October 2010
Statement by Bishop McKeown in response to recent comments on diversity of education provision in Northern Ireland
“The ongoing debate concerning diversity of education provision in Northern Ireland requires recognition of the fundamental right of parents in the choice of faith-based education for their child,” according to Bishop Donal McKeown, Chair of the Northern Ireland Commission for Catholic Education.
Bishop McKeown continued, “This key principle, which recognises the right of parents, is guaranteed by the European Convention for Human Rights. It is also the hallmark of a stable and pluralist society, such as exists in Ireland and Britain, and which finds expression in the provision of State funded faith-based schools. It is worth pointing out that parents who choose faith-based schools for their children, pay taxes toward the provision of that education. The Catholic Church has also contributed substantial funding and resources for the provision of Catholic schools over generations, and this has ultimately saved the taxpayer money.
“Long experience across this island, North and South, shows that Catholic schools are committed to welcoming pupils of all backgrounds and to building a cohesive society in the service of the common good.”
Notes for Editors:
- Bishop Donal McKeown is Auxiliary Bishop of Down and Connor and Chair of the Northern Ireland Commission for Catholic Education.
- NICCE represents the Trustees of all primary and secondary Catholic schools in Northern Ireland.