Educate Together Welcomes Taoiseach’s Intervention in the Ongoing School Patronage Debate

Educate Together welcomes Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s intervention yesterday in the ongoing debate on divestment and school patronage.

Taoiseach Varadkar told the Dáil that he recently told members of the Catholic church that

“we would like to see more divestment occurring but our principal interest in doing so was taking into account the view of parents and that was the most important thing.” 

He added that: “divestment should only occur where the parents and prospective parents of children attending those schools want it to occur”.

Educate Together is in full agreement with the Taoiseach in this regard. Educate Together firmly believes that any Government plans to ‘divest’ or ‘reconfigure’ school provision in the future must put parental wishes where they should be: at the centre of the process.

Educate Together is campaigning for a national network of these equality-based schools to be established in line with proven parental demand. With this goal in mind, Educate Together has called for a full reassessment of the Government’s ‘reconfiguration’ school patronage transfer process and that a new process be formulated that prioritises the wishes of parents and families, rather than Church interests.

Educate Together warmly welcomed the election of Taoiseach Varadkar back in June 2017; Educate Together CEO Paul Rowe commented on his election at the time, which is all the more relevant now:  

“As a man who understands well the character and makeup the fast-changing modern Ireland, our hope in Educate Together is that Taoiseach Varadkar will prioritise the establishment of an education system that is open to and welcoming of all children, irrespective of their social, cultural or religious background. Families in towns, villages and cities all over Ireland are advocating for new equality-based schools and for radical reform of the Irish education system and we hope that the new Taoiseach will champion their cause.”

Educate Together is very much looking forward to working with Taoiseach Varadkar and his Government on advancing the cause of educational equality in this country, by ensuring, above all, that the rights of parents and children are centre stage to the process of change and reform.