Updated: 09/05/18 : 07:14:12
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End to 'baptism barrier' in schools

The government has approved a bill to end the 'baptism barrier' in schools.

It would mean schools cannot discriminate because of religion when there is a waiting list.

90% of Irish primary schools have a Catholic ethos and as of now when they are oversubscribed they can give priority to some children based on religion.

Education Minister Richard Bruton wants to change that, and yesterday got cabinet approval for a number of amendments to a school admissions bill.

He said it is unfair a child of no religion is passed over in favour of a child who has been baptised.

The amendment would end that practice in almost all schools

The exception being children of minority religions so they can still access a school of their faith.

The amendments to the bill will also allow Gaelscoileanna to give priority to Irish speaking children, and will give the Minister the power to make a school open a special class for those with special needs where the National Council for Special Education has identified the need for one in that area.