Coppinger Bill would destroy denominational education

Press release from The Iona Institute 

Coppinger Bill would destroy denominational education

May 16, 2017 The ‘Equal Participation in Schools Bill’ proposed by Ruth Coppinger TD would have the effect of destroying denominational education in Ireland, the Iona Institute has said today.

The Bill would take away the right of such schools to have a religious ethos, Religious Education would have to take place outside schools hours, and it would forbid them admitting children from their own faith community first in the event of over-crowding. This last measure would disproportionately affect minority faiths like the Church of Ireland.

Commenting on the Coppinger Bill, David Quinn of The Iona Institute said: “Taking all of the Bill’s proposals together, the effect of them would be to effectively destroy denominational education in this country. They would extinguish the rights of the very many parents who still want to see their children taught in schools that reflect their religious beliefs.”

He continued: “The increasingly strident campaign against faith-based schools would result in an entirely uniform, State-run education system. Curiously, this goal is advanced in the name of ‘pluralism’”.

Quinn concluded: “Obviously, our school system must change. There must be more choice for parents and that means fewer faith schools. The Catholic Church must do what it can to encourage faster divestment. But we cannot go down the path suggested by Ruth Coppinger and others because it has nothing whatever to do with genuine pluralism or real parental choice. One of those choices has to include publicly-funded denominational education as exists in many other countries”.

ENDS

Notes to editor:

  1. The Iona Institute is a Christian think tank and advocacy group.
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