1 December 2015
By Elaine Murphy
Speaking following comments from Labour TDs that the Labour Party would end the ‘baptism barrier’ to school entry if re-elected to the next government, Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Deputy Jonathan O’Brien said it wasn’t good enough to put this legislation on the long finger and that his party will introduce their own legislation.
The Cork North Central TD said;
“The latest comments from Tánaiste Joan Burton smack of desperation – her party could have easily addressed the religious discrimination in schools at any time during the last five years and deliberately chose not to.
“Instead, themselves and Fine Gael have preoccupied themselves introducing austerity budgets and dismissing the concerns of parents who raised the matter that their four year olds are being discriminated against on religious grounds.
“The issue of divestment of patronage has barely moved, children are still routinely excluded from schools on the grounds they are the wrong religion or from a non-religious background, there aren’t enough multi-denominational schools, and Rule 68 is still in the primary school guidelines.
“This isn’t good enough and there is no excuse for delaying addressing this matter.
“For this reason Sinn Féin are committed to bringing forward our own legislation on this, and I would urge the government to allow our Bill to go forward as a starting point to fixing this archaic law that allows children to be excluded from schools on religious grounds.”