Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education Thomas Byrne TD says his party is committed to reforming the procedures governing school admissions with a particular focus on ending the ‘baptism barrier’ while at the same time respecting the freedom of religion of parents in our pluralist society.

Deputy Byrne made the comments after Minister Bruton re-announced a promise to reform schools admissions for at least the eighth time, without actually putting a proposal on the table.

“Minister Bruton’s renewal of vows on this issue for the umpteenth time is not credible. He is all talk, all spin and no action.

“Fianna Fáil believes that all children should have access to a school in their local community irrespective of their religion.

“We favour the introduction of a new set of selection criteria for over-subscribed schools, based on locality and catchment area. The enrolment criteria should be based on two mandatory criteria, namely on a sibling first principle and secondly the prioritisation of children living within a specific radius of a school.

“We made these recommendations to the Minister over a year ago.  He has not yet come forward with his legislative proposals but constantly reiterates his intention to do so. It’s wearing thin and families are rightly anxious and concerned.

“The Minister needs to end the spin, resist the urge to re promise and finally take action” concluded Deputy Byrne.