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Ruairi Quinn plans forum on transferring schools out of Catholic patronage

The new minister for education wants to establish and conclude the forum within nine months.

Ruairi Quinn
Ruairi Quinn
Image: Press Association

THE NEW MINISTER for Education, Ruairi Quinn, has said that he wants to identify ways in which to transfer schools out of Catholic patronage.

At an address to the annual conference of the Catholic Primary School Management Association (CPSMA), Quinn said that he wanted to transfer the schools out of Catholic patronage in order to “create greater diversity and choice.”

The establishment of a ‘Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary Sector’ was set out as part of the coalition’s programme for government.

Quinn said he would be establishing a forum to identify ways in which to do this and said it would focus not on whether this was a good idea but how to make it happen.

And he added that he would be looking to make it happen as soon as possible, and to complete the process in nine months’ time:

We have to provide for an array of choice in our education system and ensure that different forms of patronage reflect the diversity of our modern society and the choices of parents.

Of course, all of this must be done within the context of the restraints on the public finances.

The initiative has been welcomed by the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference which said it welcomes the new forum’s “expeditious establishment and conclusion.”

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Hugh O'Connell

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