School patronage must be matter for parents – EU minister

School patronage must be matter for parents – EU minister Minister for European Affairs Helen McEntee

The patronage and ethos of Ireland’s schools should be determined at a local level by parents and communities, Minister for European Affairs Helen McEntee has said.

While paying tribute to the Church and to the role of Church teachings in educating generations of Irish people, Ms McEntee stressed that not all children had positive experiences of Catholic education.

“The Catholic Church and its teachings have played an important role in providing education to children in Ireland for many generations,” she told The Irish Catholic. “They filled a key role in Irish society when others didn’t, however for some their experiences were not positive and as a country we are still trying to heal the deep wounds inflicted on helpless and vulnerable children.”

Ms McEntee also said that parental and local choices of school patron are the best approach for diverse modern societies.


“Today, ethos and patronage of schools is determined by parents and local communities,” she said, continuing, “this is in my opinion the correct approach that is reflective of a modern, diverse and multicultural society”.

Ms McEntee was responding to questions put to her following EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s call for the European Union to do more to apply Catholic Social Teaching and to rediscover the Catholic values and guiding principles that motivate and underpin the European project.