Richard Bruton plans to stop the "baptism barrier" being a factor in enrolling in Catholic schools 5 years ago

Richard Bruton plans to stop the "baptism barrier" being a factor in enrolling in Catholic schools

The proposal was brought before an Oireachtas committee.

Minister for Education, Richard Bruton, has brought forward a proposal that will put a halt to the country's 2,800 Catholic schools from discriminating and refusing pupils on the sole grounds of religion.

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According to the Irish Independent, Bruton hopes to break the "baptism barrier" in Ireland but stated that schools run by minority religions, such as the Church of Ireland and other religions are still allowed to factor this into their admissions policies.

Minority schools would be allowed to use this as a factor in circumstances such as: where it would not otherwise be possible to maintain the ethos of the school, in order to ensure that students of that religion can find a place in a school of that ethos and in order to admit a student of that religion who resides in a community consistently served by that school.

Bruton made the announcement to the Oireachtas Committee on Wednesday evening and told them that it was unfair not to be able to send a child to a nearby school just because they were of different religion.

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“I also believe that it is unfair that some parents, who might otherwise not do so, feel pressure to baptise their children in order to gain admission to their local school," said Bruton.

His new proposal would mean that religion would not be used in admission to 80% of schools.

“It is in the 20% of other schools that this issue now needs to be addressed," he said. "I am seeking to be fair to all parents while recognising the right of all schools to have their distinctive ethos.

“The aim is to meet the wishes of non-denominational parents – who now amount to well over 10% of their cohort – without unfairly impinging on the rights of other children.”

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