In response to the announcement by the Minister for Education & Skills Jan O’Sullivan, Father Tom Deenihan, General Secretary of the Catholic Primary School Management Association (CPSMA), said that while he was surprised by the Minister’s announcement regarding Rules 68 and 69, he could understand the rationale behind such a decision in some circumstances.
Father Deenihan said, “Ireland is served by a plurality of primary school patronage models and it makes no sense for the State to compel schools of no religious patronage, ethos or denomination, to teach religious education. However, there are schools with religious patrons be they Catholic or other Christian denomination, or of another faith. These schools are sought by a significant number of parents for their children, and religious education is an important part of the schools’ ethos or characteristic spirit. These schools wish to continue to teach religious education in accordance with their ethos.”
Father Deenihan continued, “Along with many Board of Management members throughout the country, CPSMA is concerned that there is an intention to remove denominational ethos from the education system. This would create a school system that is generic in terms of curriculum and where patronage makes no difference. In that context I ask the Minister to give an undertaking that denominational schools, of whatever persuasion, be allowed by the Department to teach religious education during the school day in accordance with the school’s ethos.”
- The Catholic Primary School Management Association is a recognised school management association and represents all the boards of management of the over 2,900 Catholic primary schools in the Republic of Ireland.
For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 310 4444