Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Dublin, John Lahart has said that a State education for all children, without reference to creed or the lack of it, is a human right. It has been reported that at present about 96% of primary schools are denominational and in the position to give priority enrolment to children of their religious faith.

Deputy Lahart was responding to a recent debate about reforms being considered by Education Minister Richard Bruton to reduce or remove links between faith and school enrolment in Dublin.

“Entry to most of the schools across the Capital is heavily over-subscribed and forced to use the baptism barrier to deal with a significant demand for classroom places,” explained Deputy Lahart.

“The UN Committee on the rights of the child recommended that the State significantly increase the number of non-denominational or multi-denominational schools to provide greater alternative choice and to also amend the existing legislative framework to eliminate discrimination in school admissions.

“All schools in receipt of State funding should be fair and inclusive in their admissions policies. Our schools should reflect the diversity of our families and our communities ensuring that no child can be discriminated against because of their religion.

“In one busy area of South Dublin, there is currently no primary school for a population over 4,000 people. It is growing increasingly apparent that the core issue in Dublin is one of resources and the need to create more classroom places through the opening of new schools, or the expansion of existing ones.

“Until there is a greater level of patronage diversity, the difficulties and anxiety faced by parents of young children nearing school age will continue and our school system fail to befit the educational needs of our children,” concluded Deputy Lahart.