12 schools axe religious instruction in Republic of Ireland
State-run primary schools in the Republic of Ireland are to take formal religious instruction for pupils off the timetable.
The umbrella body for community national schools has decided that preparation for sacraments, such as First Communion, will no longer take place within the school day.
The move by Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI) represents a significant milestone in the long-running debate over the place of religion teaching in primary schools.
Irish Education Minister Richard Bruton, who addressed the ETBI annual conference last night, said he welcomed the direction in which the ETBI was moving.
However, although practices varied within schools, time may also be allowed for instruction in particular faiths if parents request it. It has mainly been requested by parents of Catholic children, who make up about half of the 4,000 pupils in 12 community national schools.