Bishop Leo OReilly, Chair of the Education Commission of the Irish Bishops Conference, today welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Education and Science, Ms Mary Hanafin, that a new State model of community national school, under the patronage of County Dublin Vocational Education Committee (VEC), is to be piloted in two locations, Phoenix Park and Phibblestown, from September 2008.

Bishop Leo O'Reilly

The Catholic Church welcomes choice and diversity within the national education system.
Bishop Leo O’Reilly

Bishop Leo OReilly, Chair of the Education Commission of the Irish Bishops Conference, today welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Education and Science, Ms Mary Hanafin, that a new State model of community national school, under the patronage of County Dublin Vocational Education Committee (VEC), is to be piloted in two locations, Phoenix Park and Phibblestown, from September 2008.

Bishop OReilly said: These schools are being provided at a critical time and will assure a wide variety of access to primary education in accordance with the wishes of parents. The Catholic Church welcomes choice and diversity within the national education system. We believe that it is important to accommodate the rights and needs of people of different faith backgrounds, and of none, to an education which reflects, as far as possible, their sincerely held convictions and values.

Bishop OReilly reiterated the Catholic Churchs firm intention to continue to provide Catholic schools to meet the needs of parents who wish their children to have a Catholic education. He said: The Church will continue its investment in Catholic education and, where there is need, will establish new schools.

We welcome the Ministers generous acknowledgement that: The role of the traditional churches in managing and providing schools is enormously valued and appreciated as is the growing role of other patronage bodies.

In welcoming todays stated announcement from the Minister: to provide for religious and faith formation during the school day for each of the main faith groups represented, Bishop OReilly said that: it is essential that such provision be entrusted to qualified Religious Education teachers approved by the various faith traditions.