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Dublin: 15 °C Saturday 8 August, 2020

The New York Times has put the spotlight on having to baptise a child to get them into school

We’ve made the front page.

THE NEW YORK Times has put the spotlight back on religious discrimination in Irish schools.


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Today the newspaper’s main and international editions feature a front-page story about Reuben, a four-year-old who was rejected by nine local schools in south Dublin last year because he is not baptised.

Reuben’s mother Nikki Murphy has delayed his schooling for a year as a result.

The Times says she is “frantically seeking alternatives” for next autumn. Murphy describes herself as “nonreligious” and said she will not baptise her child simply to gain access to a school.

I know lots of people who have gone down that road, but my husband, Clem, and I felt it wasn’t for us. I am very, very angry. We are almost out of options.

Almost 97% of state-funded primary schools are under church control.

The article also refers to an online petition set up to establish equal school access for unbaptised children in Ireland. It currently has more than 18,000 signatures.

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In December a national survey of 1,000 people conducted by Behaviour & Attitudes for EQUATE: Equality in Education, found that 46% of parents would not choose a Christian school for their child if they had a choice locally, and one in five people are aware of someone who has baptised their child just to get them into the local school.

Earlier this month the Primate of All-Ireland Archbishop Eamon Martin 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 at a United Nations conference last week, Children’s Minister James Reilly said the current policy needs to change, but a referendum may be needed because of the constitutional protection given to religious institutions.

Read: Crowds turn out to support family of Dublin girl who failed to get place in local school

Read: ‘It’s insulting to parents to say they’re baptising their children to get them into a school’

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About the author:

Órla Ryan

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