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Minority faiths to be protected under new admissions rules – Richmond

28th June 2017 - Neale Richmond, TD

Children of minority faiths will be protected under new proposals from Fine Gael Education Minister, Richard Bruton, on school admissions.

Speaking in support of the proposals, Dublin Rathdown Fine Gael Senator, Neale Richmond, said:

“Minister Bruton’s new school admissions rules are designed to protect minority religious communities.

“In our modern Republic, we are lucky to have a vibrant and active minority faith community that has and will contribute so much to our diverse society.

“These proposals are aimed at protecting the ability of schools to maintain their ethos so that minority religious families are provided for, and to protect the right of individual children of minority religions to gain access to these schools.

“Following lengthy and engaging consultation, I welcome the announcement by Minister Bruton of his preferred policy approach for the role of religion in school admissions. It was an extremely sensitive and difficult issue to address but one that simply had to be dealt with to respond to the needs of an ever changing Ireland.

“These suggested changes will mean that for the first time non-religious families, who now account for almost 10% of the population (a figure which is significantly higher among parenting ages – close to 20%), will now be able to access their local State funded primary school on the same basis as other citizens.

“While a number of far reaching changes have been proposed, I am encouraged that a number of measures have also been taken to protect the interests of those who do want a religious education for their child, particularly those from a minority faith background.

“Due to the make-up of the population, the make-up of our school system and specific provisions contained within the proposals, the position of Roman Catholic families and Roman Catholic schools is also protected while ultimately lifting the overall use of religion in school admissions.

“While I previously queried if an exemption could be made for the 191 minority faith primary schools, I fully accept that this would have been unconstitutional and that the Minister has been able to protect minority faiths under the proposed new admissions rules.”

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