Catholics Come First


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From top: David Quinn, Section 7 (3) C of the Equal Status Act 2010 (click to enlarge)

Barrister Patrick Monahan and David Quinn, of the Iona Institute, spoke with Keelin Shanley this morning on RTÉ Radio One about how children who are not baptised in the Catholic church are being refused access to schools across Ireland.

In relation to this, Mr Monahan is calling for Section 7 (3) C of the Equal Status Act 2010 to be abolished. He has set up a petition which currently has more than 13,000 signatures and he will be bring it before the Oireachtas petitions committee in September.

Mr Quinn believes it’s just an issue of oversubscription.

David Quinn: “The Department of Education did a survey of parents in about 43 areas in the country, involving more than 200 schools and found that the average level of demand among parents for a different type of school was about 8%, resulting in a request that about 28 of these schools, in these 43 areas, as I say involving more that 200 schools, be handed over to bodies like Educate Together. I mean that says two things: that there’s a certain level of demand for a handover of schools but there’s a level of demand being exaggerated too because when the Department of Education survey was done and found, the average level of demand was 8%.”

Keelin Shanley: “There is another argument there, that when you ask parents and kids are in a school, everything is going fine. You ask them do they want to change it, they kind of go, ‘well, things are OK, you know, it’s not the same as…”

Quinn: “Well it was also parents who have kids in school, in the future, so it wasn’t just parents who have children in schools now.”

Shanley: “Let me bring in Patrick Monahan in on this. It would seem from what David’s saying there, he’s totally open to the idea of a certain number of schools divesting.”

Patrick Monahan: “It would seem so and I’m not here to talk about divestment. I’m here to talk about schools turning away children who don’t have baptism certificates. Divestment is a red herring and if I hear it mentioned again I think my head might explode. There has been no divestment. I don’t actually want divestment particularly. I mean divestment is fine for people who want non-religious education. I just want my child to get in to the local school so I started a petition, the petition now has 13,000 signatures in the space of two months. I’m not part of any organisation or any party. Basically, I’ll just give you a brief rundown of it. I live two minutes from our local national school. It happens to be a Catholic-run school. As you said, over 90% of the schools in the country are Catholic-run. Now they’re all taxpayer-funded. The teachers are paid for by taxpayers, the janitor, the upkeep of the school, the building programme for the school, all paid for by taxpayers. But as things stand my local school is oversubscribed so Irish law – this has nothing to do with the Church and nothing to do with divestment, I  don’t want to build a school and I’m sick of people saying to me, ‘why don’t you build…?’. I’m not a builder, I’m a lawyer. I want my child to go to the school that’s two minutes away.”

Shanley: “Why can’t your child get into that oversubscribed school?”

Monahan: “So. Section 7 (3) C of the Equal Status Act 2000, it could be called the ‘Catholics First’ law given that it applies to over 90% of schools. That section allows schools to discriminate on the basis of whether or not the child is baptised. If a child… basically Catholic schools throughout the country must have an enrolment policy and I beg anyone to look at their local school’s enrolment policy. That policy will say, ‘Number one, local Catholic children’. Then, more than likely it will say, ‘Number two, Catholic children from anywhere else should they need a school’. And the, under a category called ‘Other’, into which my gorgeous little five-month-old child falls. He falls into the Other category when it comes to the school two  minutes from my house. I don’t want to build a school, I don’t want to drive a half an hour to an Educate Together school which is very good if want non-religious education. I want my child to go to the local school with his friends from the GAA club and his road… that’s all I want.

Shanley: “Just to clarify so this Section 7(3) C of the Equal Status Act…”

Monahan: “Precisely.”

Shanley: “So you don’t mind if your child goes to a Catholic-ethos school, you just want to be allowed to be undiscriminated against in getting into the school.”

Monahan: “Divestment is a red herring. So many parents that I’ve spoken to, they want their kids to go to the local school, that’s all they care about, repealing Section 7(3) C, the Catholic’s first law, all it will do – it won’t affect patronage, it won’t affect ownership, it won’t affect the teaching of religion. There’s a spectrum of changes that people, some people want from total removal of religion, total removal of patronage, all I’m asking for is the minimum possible change...”

Shanley: “To stop discrimination…”

Monahan: “Stop discrimination and allow all children into local schools.”

Shanley: “Can I ask, this Section 7(3) C,  does it apply to anything other than schools?”

Monahan: “That’s a very good question. Section 7(3) C only applies to schools. The funny thing is it’s the Equal Status Act. The Equal Status Act sets out lots of types of discrimination that are not allowed. The Act says in one part, religious discrimination in schools is not allowed but it makes an exception for religious-run schools – which are around about 98% of schools so you can see the problem there.”


Quinn: “If there’s oversubscription in a given area, there’s going to be a certain number of children who are going to lose out and so the answer to that, first and foremost, is provide enough places because no matter what…”

Shanley: “Why not get rid of the Section 7 (3) C…?”

Quinn: “Yeah but  you’re still going to have to have some kind of selection criteria. Now let’s say it’s first-come first-served all right? And we’ll say there’s oversubscription in a given area because there’s this overcrowding in the schools and you have first-come first-served. So somebody puts their child’s name down when their child is a baby and they’re well settled in the area. Somebody comes into the area and their child is four and the school’s already booked out for several years back. So even first-come first-served, it produces losers. So the idea is just make sure there’s enough school places in a given area and these problems simply don’t arise Just make sure there If there’s enough school places…it makes sense for a school to give priority to the parents who believe in the ethos of the school because the school is set up for a particular reason…Discrimination is an extremely loaded word.”


Monahan: “An oversubscribed school needs selection criteria. However that the number one criterion should be whether or not a child has had its head wet is insane.”

Quinn: “That’s completely trivialising…”

Talk over each other

Monahan: “No, no David, please don’t interrupt, I didn’t interrupt you. One moment. David is suggesting the schools need enrolment criteria. Obviously. If 400 people apply to a school and there are only 200 places, they need to have criteria on which to decide whether or not to allow a child in. Now to me, things like catchment area, whether or not the child has already had siblings in a school, these things make a certain amount of sense and can be worked on. There has to be sensible, predictable criteria. Now whether a child is baptised or not, it’s predictable but it’s not exactly fair.”


Monahan: “David is the first person, honestly, that I’ve met that opposes this. You know. I mean we’re talking about four-year-olds here.”

Quinn: “Your circles of friends aren’t wide enough then.”

Monahan: “Oh no trust me David, I’ve actually got lots of Catholic friends and I’ve got lots of Catholic family members and you don’t speak for Catholics. Catholics are absolutely as much against this as anyone else. They want people to mix…”

Quinn: “What’s your evidence of that? Except for having anecdotal evidence. Come on, please, give me a break.”

Monahan: “My family…yes, anecdotal evidence.”

Shanley: “And what’s your evidence David?”

Quinn: “Well I mean, the baptism, if there was a big rebellion against the type of school system we have, we would have seen it in the Department of Education survey of those 43 areas.”

Talk over each other

Shanley: “Specifically, what’s your evidence that Catholics would oppose the removal of this section…”

Quinn: “My evidence…if there was a groundswell of opinion against what schools are doing now it would have been reflected in the Department of Education survey and it wasn’t.”

Shanley: “And it wasn’t. Ok. Patrick that’s a fair point?”

Monahan: “Yeah. I’m a dad, I’m not a part of any organisation. I’m absolutely on my own on this. I started a petition about six or seven weeks ago, it’s got 13,000 signatures and growing, David. That is evidence that people want this law repealed..”

Quinn: “Why wasn’t there more of a rebellion against the current situation when the Department of Eduction ran that survey?”

Talk over each other

Monahan: “Was the question asked – should this to be repealed?”

Talk over each other

Quinn: “The answer is ‘I don’t know’.”

Monahan: “David just asked me why was it that in that survey that a groundswell of people didn’t support this. I’ve one question for David, was that question asked?”

Quinn: “I don’t know.”

Monahan: “It wasn’t asked in the survey. Nobody asked did they want this law repealed in the survey.”

Talk over each over

Quinn: “If there was general dissatisfaction with what’s happening now, it would have been reflected in that Department of Education survey.”

Monahan: “And I think if you ask people, do you think children should have equal access to school, children should be allowed, regardless of their religion or should we discriminate against unbaptised children, I think they will go for the former option.”

Quinn: “I think if you loaded the question that way, you would certainly get the answer…”

Monahan: “Well how do you load it David?”

Quinn: “A question I would ask is, should schools be able to favour those who back the ethos of the school?”

Monahan: “Discriminate, in other words?”

Shanley: “OK, listen we’re going to leave it there. Just very briefly, Patrick, what are you going to do about your son? You’re not going to have him baptised.”

Monahan: “He is going to go to the local school. There’s 13,000 signatures on the list. It’s going before the Oireachtas petitions committee in September. I’m going to put it to them. I’m hoping that the Educations (Admissions to School) Bill 2015 will be amended so that this repeal will go through.”

Talk over each other

Quinn: “[inaudible]…the Constitution, to do it.”

Monahan: “Excuse me now, I’m the lawyer, I think I’m the lawyer here.”

Shanley: “You know what, we’re going to leave it here.”

You can sign Patrick’s petition here

Listen back in full here

200 thoughts on “Catholics Come First

    1. Toe Up

      I think that David Quinn is very afraid of this because he probably realises that if a good number of non-baptised children start going to catholic schools, that the practice of ignoring those children during religious education will have to be reassessed, which may hasten the removal of religious teaching from the classroom.

      Bring it on is what I say!

      1. New Person A

        Yes I can’t wait I’m not one given much to hate
        but if David Quinn was on fire in the street
        I wouldn’t douse the flames, the games he plays
        with words and lives make me want to beat

    1. classter

      I’d like to see us resolve this without European intervention.

      I’d also feel much happier if my taxes weren’t paying for schools run by an organisation with a horrendous record in relation to child abuse and an even worse record in terms of victims’ compensation.

  1. ReproBertie

    “my gorgeous little five-month-old child … to go to the local school with his friends from the GAA club and his road… that’s all I want.”

    GAA taking them very young!

    Completely agree with Patrick. The state funds the schools so why should the church get to decide who attends?

  2. Nially

    Noted children’s rights advocate David Quinn in “Not giving a fupp about non-Catholic children” shocker.

      1. Weedless

        Yeah their souls are all dirty because some ancient foreign feminist bird nick the patriarchy’s special fruit and then decided, it being her body, she could cover it up if she pleased. Only a dunking the babies in the magic font of spiritual cillit bang can get their souls white enough to go to the school that their parents taxes already fund.

          1. Weedless

            Sadly true. Well that and the fact that it was a woman caused all the trouble.
            Am I right guys?
            … guys?

          2. Dόn Pídgéόní

            Women, always bringing down the salvation of mankind, and not having any role what so every in the early church ever, no seriously, not any of it.

  3. Funk

    I’m glad someone is pushing this. It actually makes me sick that this is still an issue in 2015.

    One of the major factors when we bought a house was that it was close to an educate together school. It was either that or baptise my child just to overcome the stupidity of religious patronage of schools

    1. realPolithicks

      Isn’t the obvious solution to remove religion from these schools altogether. If people want their children to receive a religious education, they can do it on their own time.

        1. realPolithicks

          Calling them parish schools is meaningless, these are state schools paid for by the state. They should be run by the state for the benefit of all citizens.

          1. Cup of tea anyone

            realpolithics says they are state schools because the state funds them.
            Why do you insist that they are not state schools.
            What measure do you use to define them?

          2. Cup of tea anyone

            Ownership, patronage, management.

            I cant speak about the ownership but we could do without the patronage and you mention below that there are not clergy on the board of all catholic schools so management is not that important.

            The big thing is finance. If the state stopped financing the schools what would happen to them.

          3. newsjustin

            If they are state schools, what’s the problem. Sure the state can instruct them to do whatever it likes.

            Why do some people call for the church to be removed from irish education if there are no church schools and they are all state schools?

            If the state stopped funding catholic schools tomorrow, I imagine the state would have to pay another provider of education to educate children for it.

          4. realPolithicks

            I’m starting to think that “newsjustin” is actually David Quinn, since you use the same kind of circular arguments. You say “If the state stopped funding catholic schools tomorrow, I imagine the state would have to pay another provider of education to educate children for it.” which of course is nonsense, as you well know. All the state actually needs to do is remove the teaching of religion from it’s schools and the problem is resolved, but of course people like you will never acknowledge that.

          5. well

            “If the state stopped funding catholic schools tomorrow, I imagine the state would have to pay another provider of education to educate children for it.”

            All that would happen is we would lose a bit of dead weight from the boards of management.

          6. classter

            We would lose a couple of effective priest managers and a host of incompetent priest managers from boards of management. That’s it,

            Any real Catholics (and I’m not one) should want the same thing because most ‘Catholic’ schools are a mockery, with a fashionable, dilute brand of Catholicism within.

        2. ahjayzis

          All school principals are public sector workers – working for the state.

          Boards of management usually contain only one or two members of the clergy + teachers and parents.

          They’re neither run nor paid for from Catholic Central Office, quit the cognitive dissonance already.

          1. newsjustin

            Some catholic schools don’t have any clergy on their boards. This still doesn’t make them state schools. Nor does any of the other things you mentioned.

            Frankly, if catholic schools were state schools then we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

          2. Sam

            Frankly, if catholic schools were state schools then we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

            We’re having this conversation because state schools are treated like catholic schools, as in the way people in other countries such as the US have catholic schools – schools that are not publicly funded, and are controlled by the church. They are supported through fundraising and tuition fees.
            If Dave Quinn wants that type of system, let the catholic parents and the church pay for their own school buildings, teachers, janitors etc. I have a feeling that won’t be happening any time soon, because they prefer to have the state pay for their system, while giving us all the two fingers.
            Until Quinn and co are paying for their own education system, they can feck off with their attempts to justify discriminating on religious grounds.

            At present, the problem is that the people paying the piper are not calling the tune, because of certain hangovers from the creation of our little banana republic.

            In fact if what we call ‘catholic schools’ here were like ‘catholic schools’ in the US, then we wouldn’t need this conversation.

          3. classter

            ‘Ownership, patronage, ethos and management mean they are catholic.’

            Ownership? the state pays for everything.
            Patronage – what is the necessity of patronage? It could be removed tomorrow without a single student noticing.
            Ethos – none of these schools have a genuinely ‘Catholic’ ethos as almost none of the teachers or students are genuinely Catholic.
            Management – again this is merely a condition of the RCC being given undue influence. The boards of management could have their parish priests removed tomorrow and in the majority of cases this would have a mildly positive influence on the running of the school.

  4. Frilly Keane


    Well I folliwed this as it went out
    And without wanting to slight the transcriber,
    Which to be fair, has presented the piece well,
    Ye’d be better off getting it from playback.

    It was Keelin’s best segment this summer
    No question
    Yer man Monahan was brillo
    Especially at the end
    When he hammered it inta Quinn
    “I’m the lawyer here….. I’m the lawyer…”
    Quinn musta gone green
    Cause Keelin shut it down

    Having plugged all that tho
    There’s still no changing the reality

    When the offers from Belvo, Anville, ‘Zaga, LSG and whatever yere having yerself

    They’re lapped up

      1. Frilly Keane

        Ah Bodger there was no need as correcting ye wasn’t intended
        I was only telling lads that is was worth listening to Monahan’s delivery for themselves

  5. newsjustin

    “Some of my best friends are catholic.”

    Odd situation where a guy wants his child actively prioritised over another child for a place in an institution with an ethos that he simply does not agree with, yet the guy calling for extra school places for everyone who needs them gets criticised.

    1. ahjayzis

      It’s his local public school – he pays as much as everyone else, catholic or otherwise towards it. He shouldn’t need to agitated for a new, second school to be built – he should have fair access to the local state school.

      That someone living 20 miles away is higher up the list for a public institution than someone who lives across the road because they’ve been through a religious rite – that’s patently barmy whatever your persuasion.

      It’s a public school run by Catholics, not a Catholic school. If the Catholic hierarchy want sectarian education to continue, I think they should start paying for their own schools.

      1. newsjustin

        It’s not a public school.

        It’s not a state school.

        It is a catholic school.

        What does the fact that children are (according to your example) being driven from 20 miles away to attend the school tell you about the adequacy of school places?

        1. ahjayzis

          “It’s not a public school. –
          It’s not a state school.
          It is a catholic school.”

          Public, State, Catholics – two of these three pay for the entire running cost of the place, assign the curriculum, train and hire the teachers and as a recentish court case has shown, have the duty of care to the students. Hint: it’s not the Catholic church.

          This society has bought and paid for these schools a thousand times over, time to kick the clergy out.

          Your latter point is a diversion – the idea that a religious rite is a better criterion for entry to a public institution than catchment area isn’t worthy of a response in a republic.

          Try your argument with one of our “catholic hospitals”, should a patient’s place on a waiting list for a procedure be dependent on their participation in a religious ceremony?

          1. Newsjustin

            Not state schools.

            No hospitals shouldn’t work the same. Should be based on clinical need. Schools and hospitals provide very different services though.

          2. ahjayzis

            Hospitals – clinical need.

            Schools – educational need.

            Let’s leave monotheism to mass, yeah?

          3. The Old Boy

            Newsjustin is right in stating that they are not in fact state schools. This seems to me to miss the point entirely. The state can’t on the one hand preside over a system that for the past 95 years has actively prevented “state schools” from existing in fact by having a public education system that depends technically on the patronage of third parties but is financed in practice from the public purse, and then on the other say that it must allow those third parties to impose certain discriminatory admissions criteria.

          4. classter

            These are state schools.

            Sure they have patronage – usually of a religious nature – but in truth these patrons add little to nothing positive.

          5. newsjustin

            No classter. As much as you and some others may wish it, catholic schools are not state schools.

        2. Rob_G

          “It’s not a public school.”

          “It’s not a state school.”

          – the State funds the schools and pays the salaries of the teachers; it’s a state school.

          I would have no problem with religious-run schools admitting only pupils who shared their ethos if they were willing to foot the bill for running the school themselves.

          1. Cup of tea anyone

            If you want to know at who owns something you need to look at who the risk lies with. So tell me if someone tries to take legal action against a school who do you think will pay? I doubt the pope would whip out the checkbook and cover it.

            It would be the state that will pay and so it is a state school. And by that logic it should be run with the ethos of the state not the church.

            the only reason the church need schools to have the catholic ethos is because they need to get to the kids at an early age.

            I think we need to mutiny.

          2. Mark Dennehy

            It’s not a state school.

            Paid for by the exchequer.
            Teachers trained to government-set standards.
            Governed by state law.
            And the european courts hold that the state is liable if a student in one of these schools is abused.

            You’re stretching that hair fairly thin to say they’re not state schools methinks.

    2. Cup of tea anyone

      He did not say that he wanted to be prioritised. He wanted to have the same chance as everyone else. And he never said that he was against the ethos of the school. he just wants his child to go to the local school.
      and what good would extra school places be to if that guys son is still bottom of the list?

      1. Newsjustin

        No. Not the same chance as everybody else. He wants one selection criteria (sharing the same religious affiliation) to be dumped in favour of another (proximity), which better suits him.

        I didn’t say he was against the ethos, but he clearly doesn’t share it.

        Enough extra places means everyone can, if they want, go to a “local” school.

        1. scottser

          no, he wants the hypocrisy of the equal status act addressed: ‘The Act says in one part, religious discrimination in schools is not allowed but it makes an exception for religious-run schools’ it’s bad law if it’s hypocritical and people should not be punished if the law can’t be applied equally. there are much more pragmatic criteria for entry to school than religion.

          1. ahjayzis


            Such an Irishism. The first, well intentioned, progressive part is completely made redundant by the second regressive clause.

          2. Newsjustin

            It’s easy to discount the value of sharing a religious ethos if you don’t share that religious ethos…and it could potentially save you 30 mins on a weekday morning.

          3. ahjayzis

            Seriously Newsjustin.

            Sharing a religion should only matter at mass in the 21st century, and not among four year old kids. It doesn’t matter in the workplace, it doesn’t matter in our hospitals, our shopping centres, retirement homes, estates, parliament or ANY other aspect of life.

            Why are you so adamant children need protecting from other children whose parents have differing views on the creator of the universe?

            Have you seen where sectarianism gets countries?

            This isn’t some guy trying to muscle in on a Catholic-only club. He pays his taxes, his local school is fully funded by those taxes.

            Is your brave new world of the future going to be a Muslim, Catholic, (various) Protestant Christian, Secular and Miscellaneous schools for every small town in Ireland?

          4. newsjustin

            The religious ethos of these schools is not really the issue here. If there were enough places (as there are in many, many parts of the country) everyone who wanted to have their child attend would be happy. In fact, in many parts of the country, rural schools actively canvas for numbers.

            It’s that there aren’t enough places in this area so this guy does want to (as you put it) “muscle in on a Catholic-only club.” He wants his child to get a place at a school INSTEAD of a child who is from the faith community that actually owns and manages the school.

            We all pay our taxes. That argument is a non-starter. The parents of the child that his child would displace pay their taxes too.

            The future is one where there are enough school places for everyone.

          5. Cup of tea anyone

            So News are there any kids who did not go to school this year because they could not get a place anywhere?

            No every child got in somewhere. There are enough places overall it is just about how you apportion the kids to different schools. so it should be about location not religion.

          6. scottser

            the religious ethos of the school is EXACTLY the issue, if his child is being discriminated against. and yes, it is entirely reasonable that his child is prioritised over another catholic child in terms of proximity, whether previous family went there or have family and friends attending already. your tax argument makes no sense- every child is entitled to an education whether their parents pay tax or not.

          7. Sam


            If a school is oversubscribed, then even a lottery would be fairer than picking by the declared religious beliefs of the parents.

            Proximity, and siblings already currently attending (not past pupils), are a fairer criteria.

            Quinn and NewsJustin are just trying to hide the discrimination behind a separate problem of oversubscription.

            That section should be repealed.

          8. classter

            If you want schools with a specifically ‘Catholic’ ethos, then you should pay for them separate to the state system. Currently we have a state system but for reasons (almost) lost in history the religious are given control.

            They don’t train or pay for teachers, they don’t provide capital investment.
            When their members abuse children, they don’t pay compensation.

        2. paul m

          you’re living in a dream world there mate. we cant even come close to ‘enough extra places’ nationally let alone locally. our government should have started this process of school expansion years ago. A bit like health just keep patching it up and hope it doesn’t fall apart.

          he doesn’t want one selection criteria to be dumped in favour of another that suits him he wants what is discrimination on grounds of religious belief removed from the act. Times are changing, the State (much to their horror) is having to accept greater responsibility for the running of our educational system and with severe pressure on the insufficient number of places in schools (or even school buildings) we cannot afford to have schools in any locality, rural or metropolitan, making selection based on religious criteria which could potential exclude even greater numbers of a local population as years pass.

          Whether or not the school is state run it gets a massive financial contribution from the state as was stated – teachers wages, training, contribution to schools materials, IT, heating, etc. Time to remove the offending article and drastically reduce state contributions from schools that don’t admit students on equal grounds.

          The majority of people aren’t trying to eradicate religion from schools and bury catholicism in education or deny the huge undertaking the religious orders made in educating people for years. However these same institutions and those defending them have to realise the landscape has changed both politically and culturally and whereby people who are no longer of religious faith are willing to compromise (yes it is a big deal sending your child to a religious school when you have brought them up without catholicism) and put their child into a religious led educational environment. Ironically the religious orders (and their supporters like Iona) that supposedly follow an ethos of compassion, charity and christianity are the ones showing the least of it.

        3. Cup of tea anyone

          So if it came down to 2 children.
          One child lived 100m from school A and 10K from school B but was not baptised
          Second child lived 5k from school A and 5 k from school B but was baptised.

          Surely it makes sense that Child A would go to the school next door and Child B would go to the school the same distance away. 98% of schools are catholic there is a great chance that the second nearest school is catholic also.

          I am not against schools making extra places but how would you suggest that is done? an extra teacher in every school would cost too much, so would building on to all the schools to open new rooms and the classes are already beyond full. more school places would be great but the best option is to change the allocation for the schools.

        4. classter

          The other stupidity of the system is that if we maintain the current system, we will have no choice but to allow for all-Muslim schools.

          I, for one, don’t want that. I want students of all religions being educated together. And I don’t want to pay for ‘Catholic ethos’, whatever the f**k that means anymore.

  6. phil

    Why the fupp are they interviewing Quinn about education? What does he know about that ? And if its the religious angle , I’d prefer to hear about that from someone with a qualification in say.. cannon law, or maybe for the hell of it, someone who was ordained …

    1. Deirdre

      Quinn makes for good radio. You could have someone like Mary McAleese, who is an expert in Canon Law, but then it is hard to imagine her shouting about how state-funded institutions should be allowed to discriminate against unbaptised children.

      1. phil

        So what you are saying is RTE have him on because they already know what he is going to say, and a moderate catholic would not make for good radio as they may meet the other guest in the middle.

        I guess that makes sense , but that would have us believe that a debate is no use unless you get a representative from the extreme of one side to argue with the guest.

        I really hope Quinn is not representative of any sizable group

        1. Derek Walsh

          It’s balance, you see. If you have an intelligent, educated person making reasonable, salient points then you need to have someone like David Quinn for balance.

      2. New Person A

        No he does not actually
        Not unless you’re a bra or leg man who fancies his sister secretly

  7. Cean

    I presume Quinn isn’t that blinkered into think parents give a fcuk about the ethos? They just want to abdicate religious learning to schools.

    Still don’t get Catholic schools allowing kids whose parents don’t go to Church either.

    1. Toe Up

      The chruch need all of the conscripts that they can get, so they are perfectly willing to let that point slide.

      1. classter

        I reckon the Church would be better off with a smaller number of genuine Catholics instead of the broad swathe of half-ar$ed pretenders they currently have.

  8. Paul Moloney

    The Catholic right wave about this “Department of Education survey” as if the DoE is itself a neutral observer in all this. It’s not.

    “During a debate on the Ryan Report, [Ruairi Quinn] questioned whether some staff at the department were members of secret societies such as the Knights of Columbanus or Opus Dei and had taken it upon themselves to ‘protect the interests of the clerical orders’. ”

    I once rang the DoE with a query about members of a certain famous anti-abortion group writing official school texts. No one in there would admit to having even heard of the group, which was obviously bollocks.


  9. ahjayzis

    I really enjoyed the three months of peace while Iona were licking it’s wounds.

    How many arguments do these handful of people, mostly related, who are running a private company have to lose before RTE realises they’re not the voice of anyone but the hardest, smallest hardcore of Catholics in Ireland?

    1. newsjustin

      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, RTE calls these guys because they want a pigeon-hole catholic point of view. Bishops and other church big-wigs are slow to get dragged into heated debates so RTE take what they can get.

      1. ahjayzis

        It’s shock-jocking for sure. But they go to fairly reasoned (as far as it goes) theologians when it comes to news items relating to the Vatican or whatever, Iona’s power is ridiculously disproportionate to what they actually are.

      2. New Person A

        News just in. Ireland is gay.
        And queer and bent and diverse and fey.
        You and your ilk. Please F off and die.
        I’m not sorry my beliefs you’re offended by

  10. Demon

    When the Catholic Church was asked to ante up for compensation for the people raped by its staff as children, it said it hadn’t got the money, so the State paid.

    Couldn’t it just hand over all the schools it owns and runs to the State now?

    1. Dόn Pídgéόní

      They could of if the State had had the balls to demand that those payments were made. Instead, the Church hid behind their claim of poverty which is frankly laughable.

      1. Rob_G

        “Could have” – one of the pitfalls of being educated in a religious-run school is being unable to use “could have/should have” properly.

        1. Dόn Pídgéόní

          I wasn’t educated in a religious school. I may have poor grammar but at least I wasn’t molested. Swings and roundabouts.

    2. Joss

      So far the church has given money, property, etc (see below) to the value of €125m or so, just short of the amount stipulated in the 2002 agreement made with FF’s Noel Dempsey. There was a subsequent promise to up that to over €350m but that isn’t legally binding. The current government are pushing for 50/50 but considering they haven’t even reached the agreed 2002 amount, that seems unlikely.
      “Under the terms of the indemnity agreement between the State and CORI, signed on the 5 June 2002, there is provision for CORI to make a contribution of €128 million as follows: cash payment, €41.14 million; property, €76.86 million; counselling, €10.00 million. The cash sum of €41.14 million has been received in full.”

  11. Tucker

    If Quinn has no children of school-going age, he doesn’t know what he’s taking about and shouldn’t be given airtime on the subject. Mind you, he DID inspire to me sign the petition, so, silver lining and all that.

      1. Notsayin

        Hhhhaaa hhha reallly…..from you…..Hhhhhhhhhhhhhaaa….haaaaaaaaaaaa……..hhhaaaaaaa……haaaaaaa…..really , from you…..sorry I just plopped myself laughing….Ill be back…Lazy argument…..jesus wept.

    1. Rob_G

      “If Quinn has no children of school-going age, he doesn’t know what he’s taking about and shouldn’t be given airtime on the subject.”

      – that’s nonsense, I don’t have any kids, and I feel strongly about this subject. If you were to follow your argument to its logical conclusion, it should only be children of school-going age allowed to discuss it,.

    2. Annie

      Quinn is an adoptive parent of two girls from Vietnam. This came out after Quinn tweeted “who’s the Daddy?” in response to Dil Wickremasinghe’s announcement of her pregnancy. Quinn was none too happy about being asked about the biological father of his own two adopted children.

        1. Annie

          No fan of David Quinn but that comment is unnecessary and plays right into his hands. My point was merely that David Quinn, as an adoptive parent himself, is in no position himself to ask about the biological parentage of children. Quinn forgets, in a similar vein to John Waters ,that neither emulate the traditional biological family form and represent themselves, along with others they are keen to denigrate and belittle, Ireland’s growing diversity in family formation.

          1. ahjayzis

            Just being honest. Look at Breda O’Brien’s son from the last referendum, a young guy completely warped by the hotbox of indoctrination via homeschooling into a caricature of 1950’s Ireland.

            He guest-ran the @Ireland account on Twitter directly after Dil Wickremasinghe during the campaign, I had to unfollow for the week, his thoughts and opinions were just so sad from what seems like an otherwise nice young guy.

          2. Annie

            It is not fair to say they are bad parents. Yes Ben Conroy is a very orthodox Catholic and religion probably was an integral part of his home schooling and possibly the main reason for his parents choosing this method of teaching. Then again, home-schooling is often chosen by other parents as a way of avoiding their child’s exposure to religious ideology at a young age. Ben Conroy does, however, strike me as an educated, articulate and engaging individual. He has been accepted as a student into one of the most prestigious courses in Oxford University so in some respects does represent a great advert for home schooling and a credit to his parents. I don’t agree with Conroy’s religious views in any shape or form but neither do I think that his home-schooling has been overtly negative. It isn’t unreasonable to expect children to have similar views to their parents.

          3. Clampers Outside!

            In fairness Annie, both Breda O’Brien and David Quinn would consider not schooling a kid in Christian belief as bad parents. they do believe that ALL children should be brought up as “good” Christians.

            So, vice versa is not an unfair accusation.

            Just pointing that out

          4. Annie

            Clampers, David Quinn and Breda O’Brien are bonkers but they’re not that bonkers. I doubt they would ascribe bad parenting to those who choose to bring up their children other than according to the Christian faith. I just get annoyed that those who are quick to ascribe the bad parenting moniker to Quinn and O’Brien merely because they are extremely religious do so without a shred of evidence and play right into their hands by so doing.

        2. Rob_G

          That’s out of order; he may be an @rse, but that doesn’t preclude him from being a good father.

          1. ahjayzis


            Like I care, he’s been casting aspersions about my worth / ability to parent for years.

            I hope for their sake his kids conform to David’s rigid standards and norms for their gender and sexual orientation, I’d hate for him to judge them like he does everyone else.

  12. bisted

    …the Iona position would seem to be that they are catholic schools…they are staying catholic schools… so eat your heart out…

  13. lawl

    lack of evidence is not evidence to the contrary

    this is literally referred to as argument from ignorance

    the irony of Quinn relying on this fallacy is depressingly predictable

  14. Parochial Central

    Educate Together Children come first…

    The letter calls for ET secondary schools’ enrolment policies to prioritise students who have completed “at least three years of the primary education at an ET national school”, siblings of existing students at the ET second-level school, and then students from other schools on a first come, first served basis.

        1. well

          Given there’s only about 100 of these fulltime Ultra’s , it should be too hard to guess who newsjustin is. I’m already guessing newsjustin is female and leans more towards youth defence than prolife campaign.

          1. Dόn Pídgéόní

            I’m beginning to think there are multiple newsjustins. The anti-abortion one is just concerned, so very concerned, about the babbies, they aren’t anti-abortion but the babbies! and doesn’t life begin at conception!

            its disingenuous and irritates me. At least have the balls to stand by what you believe instead of hiding behind this simpering facade.

          2. well

            Newsjustin ,She sounds like one of those Angry youth defence people venting all their ‘frustrations’ through their religion on the rest of us.

    1. jean

      Nice try. However, the Educate Together schools don’t discriminate against children of Catholic families. So there’s nothing stopping a child of Catholics going to an ET primary with a view to going on to an ET secondary. My daughter goes to an ET primary and they didn’t ask for our religious affiliation at any point, including on the application form.

    2. ReproBertie

      This is a move to change an existing policy which enforces the catchment area. At the moment there is no prioritisation of children coming from ET national school to the secondary school.

      The policy is question is a policy the catholic schools seem to be immune to.

  15. Annie

    There is a bigger picture here. Shadier elements involved in the Roman Church’s schools are going to start rolling out a very different approach to religious education and school ethos in general as a result of marriage being extended to same-sex couples. David Quinn and Ronan Mullen along with others are spearheading the involvement of more “turbo-Catholics” in Roman schools to advance and propagate a more doctrinaire and hardline approach to Catholic social teaching to children, whether from an overtly religious background or not. These individuals viewed the overwhelming younger vote in favour of marriage equality as an abject failure on the part of Ireland’s overwhelmingly Roman schools to inculcate “proper” Roman “moral” teaching. Roman Catholic schools are seen as one of the last and best ways to reverse what they see as Ireland’s slide into secularism so divestment is going to be fought tooth and nail by these very wholesome individuals with a not-so-wholesome new set of priorities.

      1. well

        Dan Brown is rediculous but Opus dei is very real. Though really nowadays they’re just a bunch of old farts like yourself desperately gripping onto any power they can grab.

          1. Annie

            LOL – you’re the one who brought Opus Dei up thus surrendering your studied contrarian-self to the very same vice of which you are so quick to accuse others.

          2. Newsjustin

            Well, of course they’re real. It’s the fanciful stories, akin to Annie’s that make me laugh.

        1. Annie

          And you my dear are undoubtedly a beacon of rationality, the purveyor of all that is balanced and measured, well more or less…maybe with just a smidgen of reactionary contrarianism but apart from that, agendaless and a paragon of fact-based analysis.

  16. Wilhelm

    Could I suggest that school enrollment is based on the catchment area only? And parents can only apply from 1 Jan of that school year?

    Our first baby is due soon and we are already in full panic mode as we don’t want to send him to a religious school in 4 years time but the ET options are scarce and these schools are also oversubscribed

  17. Lu

    I have 5 gorgeous nephews – 3 unbaptised and 2 baptised as Eastern Orthodox. All are being raised in accordance with the sincerely held beliefs of one or both of their parents. All of them would be discriminated against in Ireland. All of them would have trouble getting into the primary school where my grandfather, father, brothers and I were all educated and where aged 10 I told my primary school teacher that all religion was absolute shite. I got in because my parents took the practical route taken by many parents of young children today – they baptised us without any wish to raise us in the church. I remember being shamed by teachers as a 5 year old for not going to mass. This is the local National School in suburban Cork. I can also remember growing up viewing neighbours who went to other schools with suspicion – they were always ‘other’ in the community.
    These policies are discriminatory in the most basic way. I challenge anyone to go and look at the school populations in Educate Together, Gaelscoileanna and Catholic run schools in north county Dublin to defy that. If we want our children to grow up in a country that values each child equally we need to aim to give each child equal access to a school where there is a balanced proportion of children with ESL and special needs. We are not doing that and this is just one of the tools that enables that.

    1. ... and lo, the One Gock did say:

      Nice to see someone talking sense Lu.

      What you say about those who went to other schools becoming the outsider in the community is very true.

      As a teacher, I just want to point out that it’s not just the kids who go into the school system claiming to be catholics yet having no belief in sky fairy Gods. Teachers also have to go through the same bullsh** act which has gone on for so long.

  18. JunkFace

    So backwards for the 21st Century.

    What does David Quinn and the Iona institute think of the Catholic church refusing to pay the millions of Euro in damages that they owe the children of the 1950’s to the 1990’s that they raped and tortured?

    The Catholic church should be entirely separated from the school system in Ireland, it should be a million miles away from any children.

  19. bobdolr

    anyone know anything about this survey by dept of edu? was it of parents who’s kids are already in catholic schools. Was it of non catholic parents? What was the question?

          1. Cup of tea anyone

            Ah they are not all pedophiles. It is just that it came with perks like it was easy access to children and people weren’t surprised if you had no interest in ladies. However a large proportion of the clergy are actually there for the faith.

      1. well

        “The areas where the pilot surveys were undertaken were as follows:
        • Arklow
        • Castlebar
        • Tramore
        • Trim
        • Whitehall ”

        So only one small part of Dublin was selected.

        1. Jymian

          From what I recall, you had to actually know there was a survey going on to take part in it: it wasn’t advertised, and unless you had a child in school and there was a note sent home and you read the note, you probably would have missed it. Then you had to fill in your PPSN, your children’s DoB – and yes, Rob_G, that means that your views would have been ignored from the get go – and hope that accurate Data Protection policies would be used on the data. What’s POD, again? That might explain why the response rate as a % of the population in the area is 23.5%

          Personally, I don’t like the way the report mixes “responses” meaning “survey returned” and “responses” meaning “number of individual children referred to in a given survey”. 511 surveys, up to 941 “responses“. One family with 5 children – all in pre-school or primary school – outweighs two families with 1 child each, even if those two families both have 2 more children under the age of 3. Not much use for forward planning.

      2. kenm

        From my reading of it 40% want divestment of schools. In comparison 10% wanted irish speaking schools and they are catered for.

        1. classter

          Tbf Irish-speaking shcools have been established in certain locations – always after a long, hard battle with the Dept of Education. There was a lot of hostility towards Gaelscoileanna from the Department for a looooong tim, can;t say whether this has abated or not.

    1. Derek Walsh

      It was a survey of parents with children who were in or would later be in school. It was limited to a small number of areas. David Quinn deliberately misrepresents the result, by multiplying the percentage of respondents in favour of a wider choice of patronage (~40%) by the response rate (~25%). In fact, the number preferring to maintain the status quo was smaller overall. Iona’s own surveys have indicated that a significant percentage, even a majority, are in favour of change.

    1. Cup of tea anyone

      Get them baptised and play the long con. Think of the ca$h they will make when their first communion and confirmation rolls around.

      1. Dόn Pídgéόní

        Plus, you get those creepy pictures of your daughter dressed as a little bride.

        Creepy AF.

        1. scottser

          yeah, this troubles me. i was thinking about putting my little one in dungarees, docs and a shaven head instead for her communion – a ‘dyke for christ’ sort of thing.

        2. classter

          That’s a pretty sh!tty way to describe seven year-old girls undergoing one of society’s rites of passage, Don. I’m surprised at you,

          How would you describe girls having their Bat Mitzvah?

          1. Don Pidgeoni

            I would describe them as someone going through a ceremony intended to represent they are now adults in the eyes of their community. And all without creepy overtones.

          2. newsjustin

            That’s not what the sacrament of first communion is though Don.

            Catholicism – the only subject that people can express their ignorance of and still be listened to when they lecture on the topic.

          3. Dόn Pídgéόní

            No, its not. Its what a bar mitzvah is.

            Bs- the only place we get to hear you tying yourself in logical knots over and over.

  20. bobsyerauntie

    “Discrimination is an extremely loaded word” Says David Quinn..

    Yes it’s a loaded word for a reason… like racism, homophobia, etc..
    Funny how these Iona folks always try and change language and definitions in order to fit in with their agenda..
    Discrimination is discrimination and prejudice is prejudice… period.
    If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck.. then it’s not an elephant David Quinn…
    Seriously how do these folks get any airtime, they should be shunned, particularly after their ugly displays in the marriage equality referendum….

  21. Lilly

    If parents en masse took a stance and refused to participate in the hypocritical round of baptisms and communions, this farce would have to end. People power.

  22. ABM

    Ever considered there might be a reason why Educate Together schools are largely poo?

    New Ireland not working out quite as planned eh?

    1. Lilly

      RMDS is excellent thanks very much, a shining example of what can be when we flush out the Roman toxins.

  23. ABM

    I’ve never seen so many New Ireland pinko dip poos opining about things that (apparently) have no impact on their little liberal lives. What a Bishop says is of no relevance to them surely?! It might have been cool to rebel against the evil bishop around the time HRH Mary Robinson was reading law at Trinity. Nowadays, you just look like an average chump moaner who’s been fed a steady diet of Dan Brown, Dawkins and the Irish Times. And are these moaners and social revolutionaries really in the education market? Gays and ugly past-it types who cling on to these revolutionary movements probably couldn’t afford to send their kids to a good school anyway.

    In business, you regularly make “build or buy” decisions. “take or wreck” is what you idiots are playing at. Too much hard work and effort for the former. Easier to squeal at opportunistic politicians to do the latter.

    1. Annie

      One cannot help but think that you have not been blessed with children either ABM. I mean do you honestly think that you expect us to believe that your trolling on here for years is conducive to child rearing? As for “ugly past it types – are you talking about yourself? Snigger…

  24. meadowlark

    I attended a Protestant primary st for 3 years then a Catholic one for the next 5. I then attended a non-denominational secondary school. There were prayers every morning in eaxh one of those schools I attended. I am not religious, none of my family are. Religion is inherent in the day to day of school life. I felt it was forced on me. Children don’t care about religion. I don’t want to send my daughter to a Catholic school or a Protestant one. I want her to go to a school where she can learn about the diversity of religion and decide for herself. I doubt I’m alone in this. There are 4 local schools in my area. Three operate on a religious ethos. The other is an educate together. It is also the furthest away from my home. I choose to send her there. It would be great if I could send her to the one across the road but because she was not baptised she likely won’t be accepted. This, to me, is madness.

  25. Lilly

    OMG poor David Quinn, I’ve just listened to the podcast. “If there is enough school places…” Someone please tell him to go back to the Christian Brothers and ask for his money back. And help him get his tongue around his THs as well. It would be an act of charity.

    1. sǝɯǝɯ ʇɐ pɐq

      Remember, for DQ ‘Charities’ have a different definition.
      He doesn’t think of them in the same way as we might.

      Just sayin’…

        1. sǝɯǝɯ ʇɐ pɐq

          I might be an Anarchist.
          I’m not sure.
          Can you be an Anarchist without having anything in common with other Anarchists?

          I hope so. It seems so,, and if so that’s the sort of Anarchi

          Ho, ho ho.
          Merry Christmas.
          Suck a reindeer.

          (I was promised a BJ earlier on. You lot are going to pay. You distracted me.)

  26. sǝɯǝɯ ʇɐ pɐq

    It’s okay.
    I’ll let yiz off.

    Everything went well and she loves me even more now.

    Fake passion…
    It works wonders, trust me.

    1. sǝɯǝɯ ʇɐ pɐq

      Have you ever gotten ‘sorted out’ while you were playing Tetris?
      I have.

      Trust me, it’s good.
      -I’ll admit, I got my hi-score under different circumstances, but I’d still recommend it.

  27. sǝɯǝɯ ʇɐ pɐq

    Catholics come and wipe it up with a tissue.
    They will steal that tissue if they have to.

    They come last.

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