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Admissions legislation disappointing but a useful starting point – O’Brien

8 April, 2015 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD

Speaking following the publication of the Education (Admissions to Schools) Bill 2015, Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Deputy Jonathan O’Brien said that it was a useful starting point in addressing the problems with the school admissions system but said that it won’t do much to address the majority of problems faced by parents and students in getting in to a school.

 Deputy O’Brien said:

 “The Bill is useful as a starting point, but it is disappointing that we are still going to be faced with a situation where parents who don’t christen their children as Catholics or of minority faiths ​will have problems getting their kids in to local schools.”

 “The Minister says that only twenty per cent of schools are over-subscribed, but I am talking to parents on a regular basis who are faced with these problems all over the 26 Counties.”

 “It cannot be allowed to continue that parents can’t send their child to a school across the road from their house because they are the wrong religion. Not only does this Bill not address that point, it actively reinforces this discrimination.”

 “We welcome the provision that prevents charges for applications to enrol in a school, but the real problem for parents is the cost of voluntary contributions that schools are forced to charge in the absence of sufficient budgets from the state.”

 “There must be better co-operation between local schools in the application process, but this Bill will do nothing for children who are the ‘wrong’ religion and can’t get in to their local school.”

 “It is open to the Minister to address these problems by way of regulation through Section 64 of the Bill, but we remain unconvinced that this is the best approach to take.” 

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