Hundreds attend march in Dublin calling for end to religious discrimination in schools

Organisers of today's event say they want "equality in all local schools, irregardless of patronage"

Image: Caoimhseach Connolly

Image: Caoimhseach Connolly

Hundreds of people are taking part in a demonstration in Dublin city centre this afternoon, calling for religious discrimination in schools to be stopped.

The group Education Equality organised today's march from St Stephen's Green park to Leinster House.

At the moment, religious-run schools can prioritise which children are admitted, based on their ethos.

However April Duff, the Chairperson of Education Equality, says this practice is not fair on parents or children.

"We want equality in all local schools, irregardless of patronage," she said.

"We want the law that allows religious denominational schools to discriminate to be repealed, so that there is absolutely a prohibition on discrimination against children in admitting students," she explained. 

Father-of-one Paddy Monahan spoke at the rally, telling the crowd: “I have already been told that Cormac has very little chance of getting into our local school without a baptismal certificate. That’s a shocking thing to be told when your son is barely over a year old.

"All I want is for Cormac to go to school with his friends from the neighbouring houses, from the local GAA club. Is that too much to ask?”

Last month, Education Minister Richard Bruton said a new admissions bill will not remove the clause that allows schools to discriminate on the basis of religion.

However, he also announced plans for 400 multi and non-denominational schools by 2030.

More than 90% of the State's 3,200 primary schools are currently managed by the Roman Catholic Church.