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Written Answers - School Patronage

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 754 No. 3

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 189.  Deputy Brendan Ryan Information on Brendan Ryan Zoom on Brendan Ryan  asked the Minister for Education and Skills on foot of speculation in Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  the media, if there are any plans to divest a primary school in the Malahide, Portmarnock or Kinsealy area of north Dublin of its Catholic patronage; if this is the case, is there a consultancy process currently taking place with schools in the area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6854/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn As the Deputy will be aware the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary Sector — a key objective of the Programme for a National Government 2011-2016 — was officially launched by me in April last year. The terms of reference of the Forum are to advise me on:

how it can best be ensured that the education system can provide a sufficiently diverse number and range of primary schools catering for all religions and none;

the practicalities of how transfer/divesting of patronage should operate for individual primary schools in communities where it is appropriate and necessary; and

how such transfer/divesting can be advanced to ensure that demands for diversity of patronage (including from an Irish language perspective) can be identified and met on a widespread basis nationally.

An Advisory Group appointed to convene the Forum has held a number of meetings in public, during June and November 2011. The Group sought and received submissions from the education stakeholder groups and from the public as part of its work. The Group is currently finalising its report and I expect to receive it shortly. Progress regarding divesting patronage of schools in any area, including the areas of North Dublin referred to by the Deputy, will be considered in the context of the recommendations of this report.

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