Ask The People



Michael Neary, the archbishop of Tuam

Michael Neary, the archbishop of Tuam,, says that we have mainly church-run schools because parents want it that way (“Parents must ensure the ethos of Catholic schools is maintained, says archbishop”, November 11th).

I would suggest we have predominantly church-run schools because parents have virtually no choice in the matter.

If the church is so sure of its position in the debate, then surely there would be no objection to asking the people of Ireland what they want, democratically, rather than dictating ever more from the pulpit. A vote to decide the matter once and for all would seem a reasonable proposition.

Vincent Hearne,

Patronage and schools (Irish Times letters page)

Pic: Tuam Herald

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25 thoughts on “Ask The People

  1. Starina

    surely the archbishop of tuam should be a little more humble, considering the dead children in his parish.

  2. newsjustin

    On what basis is he proposing a vote, I wonder? A binding plebiscite?

    There have been direct polls in a number of areas, organised by the Depth of Education, on patronage and, if memory serves me the Archbishop’s view, that most people want to keep their catholic schools, was borne out.

    1. Cian

      Pretty much every poll I’m aware of is for patronage for a new school and they are almost universally won by the VEC/ETB or Educate Together. Polls on patronage of existing schools are rare to non existent.

      1. AlisonT

        Only polls where the persons kids are not directly affected. Once parents who have kids in a school are asked they overwhelmingly vote to keep the Church. It is like reverse NIMBYism. people want more secular schools but just not for their kids.

      2. newsjustin

        I’m thinking of the “Report on the surveys regarding parental preferences on primary school patronage”.

        Sorry, can’t link but it’s available on the Depth of Education website. Covers 37 areas where parents were asked for there preference re patronage – not just the issue of new schools.

    2. classter

      There shouldn’t be a vote because there is no need for a vote.

      We live (or should live) in a democracy not a mob encampment.

      State education should be secular and if you want your child to receive religious instruction, then you should send him/her to Sunday school/private yeshiva school/classes at the mosque/etc.

  3. Drogg

    Fupp you, you facist religious mind washing doodlybag. People only pretend to like your poo church to get their kids into school.

    1. Drogg

      Got carried away there. Stupid bishops. Maybe we should just practice a separation of church and state like most secular countries.

      1. ahjayzis

        How that’s even a controversial statement after all we’ve learned is still beyond me.

        That institution should have no role in administering our public services.

  4. phil

    We will be hiring 2 engineers at work, I’m going to give preference to parents of children not in a catholic school

  5. Annie

    David Quinn is constantly parroting the “parental choice first” line while brandishing recent surveys where an apparent “majority” of respondents prefer denominational education. As is usual with Iona “Institute” spin, the devil is, ironically, in the detail. The truth of the matter is that David Quinn is correct, if one takes into account those few parents who actually responded to divestment questionnaires. Most parents, the vast majority, didn’t bother responding so one can assume that those who did are the most religiously enthused parents. But the reality is that most parents have so much on their plate and given the fact that our RC schools aren’t really religious in the sense of other European countries as they, by necessity, are watered down, being effectively state schools in this country. As long as the little ones aren’t arriving home choc-full of religious zeal, most parents even if they disagree with religion in education, are not really that bothered. This is the main problem with the overwhelming one-size fits all RC run schools. They are neither fish nor fowl, serving neither the needs of genuinely religious parents nor those who want a more secular-based option.

    There is talk of a more robust attitude to RC ethos being rolled out, possibly as a consequence of the “failure to understand Church teaching” with regard to the Marriage Equality referendum. This may not be a bad thing as it may force parents to actually think about what they want for their children and get off the fence.

    1. newsjustin

      “Most parents, the vast majority, didn’t bother responding so one can assume that those who did are the most religiously enthused parents.”

      Or that those who did respond most wanted a change ie felt aggrieved at the current state of affairs. Yet the results didn’t indicate a very strong desire for new patrons.

      You make some good points though.

      1. Annie

        It is simply a cultural catholicism which is the main stumbling block I fear. Our RC schools are so innocuous, with the exception of promoting a particular line re abortion but with the admixture of the lightly conservative nature of the population, the vast majority aren’t motivated one way or the other. The bulk of public schools promote a light-touch, wishy-washy RC ethos, which in fairness corresponds to most parents’ level of belief.

        The RC Church in some quarters is at least beginning to see that its overwhelming domination of the education sector is actually counterproductive and has led to a watered down ethos in most of its schools, out of necessity as they effectively take the place of state schools. Until there are credible alternatives or “a” credible alternative, RC schools would be better able to carve out a “proper” ethos and educate students in a faith to a much higher quality, bolstered by parents who actively support and encourage this formation. I agree with David Quinn that it is up to the parents but really, most cannot be arsed to make the choice or agitate for change and this is decidedly not because they are so enthused by denominational education.

    2. Clampers Outside!

      Your comments about the report Mr Quinn was brandishing would require some substantiation – where did you get your info about who did and didn’t fill out / complete the questionnaire / research?

      I’m looking for that info myself, thanks.

  6. NilNocere

    A minority should never have its civil rights dictated by the majority (if that is the case here, which I sincerely doubt).

  7. Sheikh Yabooti

    A simple shuffle of timetable.
    Move the religious poo to the end of the week, give the kids/parents who don’t want the mind control lessons a half day. Let the godbotherers stay on.
    Same schools, two systems, no need for new builds.
    Yes, there’s still the issue of baptise or you’re last on the list, but that’s a referendum issue, constitutional change like judges’ pay; delete the “regard for spiritual ethos of the school” line that the priest patrons of school boards hide behind.

    1. manolo

      I like that as a provisional solution while we wait for the final kick on the backsides of those men in dresses.

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