Dept of Education must respect principle of parental choice in talks with Catholic bishops

Press release by The Iona Institute 

November 12, 2009

Dept of Education must respect principle of parental choice in talks with Catholic bishops

The Iona Institute has today called on the Department of Education to respect the principle of parental choice in any talks about the future of denominational schools in Ireland. In addition, Catholic schools should be given to other patron bodies only where there is clear evidence that there is no longer demand for such a school in a given area.

The Institute was reacting to talks taking place today between the Department of Education and representatives of the Catholic hierarchy concerning which, if any, Catholic schools should be transferred to other patron bodies.

Speaking on behalf of The Iona Institute, Dr John Murray said: “The Department of Education must keep the principle of parental choice front and centre in its thinking. Parents have a right to send their children to the school of their choice, including to a denominational school. The State has an obligation to fund such schools where there is adequate demand for them. The Department cannot and should not support the idea that all State-funded schools must be State-run as well because this would be both anti-choice and anti-pluralist.”

He continued: “A RedC poll commissioned by The Iona Institute earlier this year showed that three-quarters of the public support the principle of parental choice, which is to be expected.

“As to the question of which Catholic schools should be given to the State or some other patron body, schools should only be transferred where there is clear evidence a particular community no longer desires such a school.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1.      The Iona Institute is a pro-marriage, pro-religion organisation. 

Contact details:

Dr John Murray: 086 0783438. Dr Murray is a lecturer at Mater Dei Institute. 

David Quinn, Director of The Iona Institute: 087 982 9910

Phone: 01 6619 204           Email: [email protected]               Website: www.ionainstitute.ie