1 October 2015
By Elaine Murphy
Speaking today following a meeting with parents whose children cannot access school places as they are not baptised, Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Deputy Jonathan O’Brien called on the Minister for Education and Skills to move immediately to repeal the legislation that allows this to take place.
The Cork North Central TD said;
“I met with parents today whose children are being excluded from their local schools on the basis of not having a baptismal cert and it is shameful that this is going on in 2015.
“Children should not have to embark on a two hour commute across cities to get to Junior Infants because the state legally allows the religious patrons to discriminate against them for being the wrong religion or for having no religion.
“Sinn Féin is committed to repealing the legislation that allows this discrimination to continue, including Section 7(3)(c) of the Equal Status Act.
“It isn’t a big ask that children be allowed attend their local school.
“The Minister has a responsibility to do this and if the Government have the political will they could use forthcoming admissions legislation as a way of doing so. Sinn Féin will table amendments to this affect, but this is the Minister’s responsibility.
“I have requested a debate with the Minister on the issue and I am hopeful that this will be selected. People should not be forced to contemplate having children christened purely to get them in to school. This discrimination must end.”