The Workers’ Party have slammed a proposal from Minister for Education Richard Bruton to protect the right of schools of “minority faiths” to discriminate in their admissions policies.

Speaking on the matter, Workers’ Party councillor Éilis Ryan said:

“Even thinking of a young child from a Muslim or Hindu background listening to Minister Bruton on the radio makes me cringe. He speaks about “those people” from minority faiths as if they are somehow different to everyone else in Ireland.

“No child should be made to feel they are any different to others in Ireland, and that’s exactly what Minister Bruton’s proposal will make happen.”

She continued:

“A universal, secular, public school system is the fairest system. But beyond that, it is also the only system that can prevent an entrenchment of the type of ghettoisation and segregation we are already seeing in our school system, and which has caused such deep divisions in other countries.”

The Workers’ Party restated its call for the “choice-based” model of primary school admissions to be scrapped, in favour of a single, secular public system, saying:

“In a republic, it is a democratically accountable state which should determine the ethos of our schools, our hospitals, and all other public bodies. All children in Ireland are equal under our constitution, and removing schools from religious control is a critical step towards making this reality.”