Catholic Schools Reject Plans To Remove Baptism Requirement

Catholic Schools Reject Plans To Remove Baptism Requirement

Over 90 percent of primary schools remain under the guardianship of the Catholic Church. Irish Catholic Primary Schools can reject a child on the basis of whether or not they've been baptised.

According to The Irish Times Minister for Education Richard Bruton announced plans on Wednesday that will disqualify Catholic primary schools from being able to discriminate on the basis of religion in their admission policies.

Catholic schools have hit back at plans to remove the “Baptism barrier” as they consider it a discrimination against religious families. Minority faiths – such as the Church of Ireland – may continue to choose a child's faith as a reason for admission. The chief executive of the Catholic Schools Partnership, Ferdia Kelly, said the plans will not solve the problem of schools reaching maximum capacity.

In the 2016 census nearly 77% of people identified as Roman Catholic. The constitutional law implemented at present allows schools to prioritise children of their own religion entry into a school over a child who lives close to the school.

Speaking at an Oireachtas education committee on Wednesday, Mr Bruton said he believed this system was unfair on parents and left them “under pressure to baptise their children in order to gain admission to their local school.”

In a statement of solidarity with non-Catholic parents and the primary school system he said:

I am seeking to be fair to all parents, while recognising the right of all schools to have their distinctive ethos

Although Mr Bruton announced he will do this "without delay" it would involve a change to the Equal Status Act which permits schools to discriminate on the basis of religion. According to The Irish Times, Mr Bruton has obtained legal advice on the move and any new legislation will need to be inspected by the Attorney General.

What do you think? Should the baptism barrier be removed?

Also Read: Here Are 10 Part Time Jobs Available Around The Country Right Now


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Garret Farrell

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