O Riordain targets school chaplains with latest cuts

O Riordain targets school chaplains with latest cuts Labour TD Aodhan O Riordan



The invaluable work done by school chaplains at community and comprehensive schools across the Republic has come under fire from Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin.

Despite the fact that the role of chaplain in such schools is mandated by legislation Mr Ó Ríordáin, who two weeks ago told The Irish Catholic he thought there was no room for religious ethos in Irish education, told a Dáil debate he was ”not sure that anybody in this House would justify spending €9 million on chaplains”.

He was responding to a written answer from Education Minister Ruairí Quinn who stated that ”here are currently 152 wholetime equivalent posts allocated in respect of chaplaincy services at a cost of approximately €9m for the 2011/2012 school year”.


In a move that appears to pit school chaplains against guidance counsellors, Deputy Ó Ríordáin said: ”In the context of guidance counsellors across the country re-iterating their valuable contribution to school life in parliamentary meetings last week, it is now arguably justifiable to discontinue this payment in order to protect other services. I hope to work with the Minister and his officials with a view to examining this matter in the coming months to ascertain if my proposal is a viable one,” Deputy Ó Ríordáin concluded.


Meanwhile, Ó Ríordáin insisted in a radio interview last week that his views on Catholic education had been misrepresented in The Irish Catholic.

This is despite the fact that his views were clearly expressed in an email to The Irish Catholic (see image). However, when Ó Ríordáin was asked to substantiate his claim that he had been misrepresented, he declined to do so.

Meanwhile, on the social networking site Twitter, the Dublin North Central deputy said: ”Typical scaremongering article by @MkellyIrishCath in @TheIrishCath re: my views on religion in education. No room for considered debate.” He further added that ”being accused of having ‘absolutist’ positions from The Irish Catholic newspaper is, eh, interesting….”