Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 2 August 2015

Bishop calls on Peter Robinson to recognise 'right of parents to opt for faith schools'

Published 18/10/2010 | 05:01

DUP leader Peter Robinson after a deal was announced on power-sharing
DUP leader Peter Robinson after a deal was announced on power-sharing

A major clash between Stormont's First Minister and the Catholic Church hierarchy was signalled yesterday by Bishop Donal McKeown, chairman of the Northern Ireland Commission for Catholic Education.

On the eve of their three day autumn meeting, Bishop McKeown called on Peter Robinson and his Democratic Unionist Party to recognise the fundamental right of parents to opt for faith-based education for their children.

He was responding to a speech by Mr Robinson last Friday objecting to the state providing and funding church schools, which he denounced as "a benign form of apartheid".

Citing the need to cut costs, he claimed it was "absurd" to allow different education sectors, and he urged the creation of a single body to oversee all schools.

But last night Bishop McKeown insisted that the right of parents to send their children to "faith schools" was guaranteed by the European Convention for Human Rights.

"It is also the hallmark of a stable and pluralist society.''

Bishop McKeown pointed out that parents who choose faith-based schools for their children paid taxes toward the provision of that education, and the Catholic Church has also contributed substantial funding and resources for the provision of Catholic schools over generations, which had ultimately saved the taxpayer money.

He said Catholic schools were committed to welcoming pupils of all backgrounds and to building a cohesive society in the service of the common good.

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph