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'It's insulting to parents to say they're baptising their children to get them into a school'

The Primate of Ireland Archbishop Eamon Martin said it was being overstated that this occurred regularly.

THE PRIMATE OF All-Ireland Archbishop Eamon Martin has said it is insulting to parents who choose to baptise their children to say that people are only doing so to get them into a school.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Countrywide programme this morning, Martin said he believed it was an “overstatement” and he found himself “resenting” the impression made that people are having their children baptised to get them into primary schools.

“I think that is hugely overstated and also an insult to people who choose to have their children baptised, because they want them to be brought up in their faith.”

I, personally, never in 28 years, never had the sense of someone coming along and saying I want them baptised because I want them to get into a Catholic school.

He said the criteria that a child must be baptised to gain entrance to a school could easily be removed and would prevent parents baptising their children just to gain access.

11/6/2013. Irish Bishops Conferences Archbishop Eamon Martin Source: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

“It is one criterion,” he said, adding, “I think that could easily be removed”.

“I would hate to think that baptism is some sort of stamp you have to get to get into a school.”

“It is far more important than that, and it is a lot more important than that for a lot of people.”

Martin said he believed their should be a “more plural offering” of schools in Ireland.

“The Catholic Church has no interest in having a monopoly over the schools in Ireland.”

However, he said there were a lot of parishes and communities who valued their Catholic school and were reluctant to have the Catholic ethos removed from it.

Martin said Catholic schools around the world are highly valued, and many people, who are not of the Catholic faith, choose to send their children to these schools.

The Primate said in the future he believed there would more amalgamations of schools, but urged for caution around closing Catholic schools in a controversial manner.

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