Some level of positive discrimination is “essential” to safeguarding minority faith schools, Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson on education has said.
Meath East TD Thomas Byrne warned against removing the provision of the Equal Status Act, which prohibits religious discrimination, claiming that Church of Ireland and other minority religious schools “could suffer disproportionately” as a result.
Referring to the Equal Status Act, Meath East TD Thomas Byrne said his party’s “difficulty is with the minority faith schools”.
“Some level of positive discrimination is essential to Church of Ireland and other minority religious schools. If we simply delete the provision of the Equal Status Act, those schools could suffer disproportionately,” he said.
Mr Byrne made his remarks in the Dáil, while putting questions to Education Minister Richard Bruton.
Responding, Mr Bruton said the programme for Government “contains a commitment to publish new school admissions legislation taking account of current draft proposals and addressing issues including publication of school enrolment policies, an end to waiting lists, introduction of annual enrolment structures and transparency and fairness in admissions for pupils and their parents”.
“An effective way of providing diversity and choice for parents is by providing additional multidenominational and non-denominational schools, and in this regard I have committed to increasing the rate of delivery of these schools, to reach a total of 400 such schools by 2030. I have set out a series of measures through which this can be delivered,” he said.