Catholic parents concerned over inclusiveness survey

Process ‘loaded against Catholic education’

Catholic parents are voicing concerns over a new Department of Education survey seeking views on how Church-run schools can be made more inclusive.

The eight-week consultation process on religious and cultural inclusion in primary schools was launched last month by Education Minister Ruairí Quinn.

However, some parents and guardians have claimed the department’s information leaflet inviting them to make a submission is anti-Catholic.

Speaking to The Irish Catholic, Alan Whelan, legal guardian of two primary school children attending a Catholic school in Kerry, said the wording of the leaflet is “heavily loaded against Catholic education”.

“I feel the document is written in such a flavour that it makes it very obvious that it will be impossible for stand-alone schools to continue their Catholic ethos in any meaningful sense,” Mr Whelan said.

The former Catholic school principal noted that, despite the consultation period being at its mid-way point, “the average parent knows nothing about it”. “I fear that it is only those who oppose the catholic ethos who will respond,” he said.

Meanwhile, Anne Doyle, a parent of two children attending a Catholic gaelscoil in Dublin, told this paper she is concerned that the consultation process is being “hijacked” by Atheist organisations.

“I am worried that this process is being hijacked by groups like Atheist Ireland, who have made recommendations on their website advising parents on making a submission promoting their own agenda,” Mrs Doyle said.

“If people want a Catholic education for their children then they have to assert themselves.

“It is important for Catholic parents to participate in the survey to assert their own opinions,” she said.

The deadline for submissions to the Minister is November 22.