Process of transferring Church-run schools underway

Four new Educate Together schools are to open their gates later this year.

The process of transferring some Church-run schools to other patron bodies has begun with the announcement that four new Educate Togetherschools are to open their gates later this year.

In addition, another Educate Together school will move into the premises of a school formerly run by the Christian Brothers. One of the brand new Educate Together schools will open in the premises of a school formerly run by the Church of Ireland.

New schools under the patronage of Educate Together, a non-denominational body, are intended to open in Tramore, Co. Waterford, Trim, Co. Meath, and Malahide, Co. Dublin in September. A fourth will open at Newtownwhite NS, Ballysokerry, Ballina, Co. Mayo where parents and existing school patrons, the Church of Ireland, are in discussions to shift patronage to Educate Together.

In addition, the newly established Portobello Educate Together in Dublin will transfer to the former Scoil San Seamus, Basin Lane that had previously been run by the Christian Brothers.

The schools in Tramore, Trim and Malahide, are opening as a result of negotiations with the Catholic Church on transferring some of its schools to other patrons; however, in none of these cases does it involve such a transferral.

While permanent buildings are not yet available in these three areas, Education Minister Ruairí Quinn has given the go-ahead for the schools in temporary start-up accommodation.

“Discussions,” according to Minister Quinn, “are continuing to take place with the main Catholic patrons in these and in a number of other areas to identify and secure permanent accommodation”.

“The engagement with patrons so far has been open and generous. I am sure that with the co-operation of all concerned and with the support of my Department, further progress can be achieved,” he said.

The Catholic Church, however, has consistently advised that the process would be slow because of the attachment of parents to their school and need to secure agreement in local communities prior to premises being handed over to other patrons.

Discussions are continuing on the process of divesting Church schools to other patron bodies in September 2015.