We must stand up for minority schools – priest

We must stand up for minority schools – priest


A Donegal priest is standing in solidarity with his Church of Ireland counterpart to protest against budget cuts which could adversely affect not only the local parish school but 27 out of 31 Protestant schools in Co. Donegal.

‘Budget 2012 will inflict serious damage and reek havoc particularly on small schools throughout Ireland. This blunt approach by Minister Quinn, imposing cutbacks, will diminish resources in our schools leading to larger class sizes, less resources and in some cases closure of small schools,’ said Fr John Joe Duffy, of Arranmore Island, Co. Donegal.

Fr Duffy and Rev. John Deane, the Church of Ireland rector in Ardara, are spearheading a campaign by Catholic and Protestant boards of management against budget cuts which they say will affect 101 out of 175 primary schools in Donegal, particularly Protestant schools.

‘Closure and amalgamation of Protestant schools will result in many parents being denied their rights to send their children to the nearest school under Protestant management. That is something which we in Catholic school management find most objectionable. The rights of our neighbours and our dear friends, members of Protestant parishes, must be respected and upheld,’ said Fr Duffy.

‘The closure of any school is the death knell to its community,’ he said. ‘Most of the Protestant schools will be wiped out.’

The campaigners have requested an immediate meeting with the Minister of Education, the Taoiseach, and with education spokespeople and Oireachtas representatives in their constituency.

‘We feel it is the duty of the majority to protect the rights of minorities,’ Fr Duffy said. ‘These savage cuts will curtail and limit the potential of future generations. This ill-conceived and poorly thought-out policy of discrimination against small schools, minority schools and the disadvantaged has to be changed.’