I've been in correspondence with the Department of Education. Particularly with Ian O'Mara, Ruairi Quinn's political adviser.
I reiterated the points made above to him. Here are some of his replies:
As you are probably aware, 92% of our Primary Schools are currently under the patronage of the Roman Catholic Church. This situation simply does not correspond with the reality of modern Ireland and we hope this will change in the coming years through the Forum on Pluralism in Patronage.
Getting from where we are, to a pluralism of choice in primary education which reflects the needs of Ireland today and into the future, is a journey which we need to take. But we must embark carefully and with concern, first and foremost, for our young students and their teachers.
The Discussion Paper on Enrolment will seek to bring about much needed changes in areas that are often tacit signs of inequality in our education system.
I replied to him saying that although the Forum on Patronage is long overdue and is to be welcomed, it's a separate issue to enrolment and asked; What about the children, whose names get on a list for a school in time, who are subsequently shunted off the list and refused a place because catholic children move to their area and take their place?
and; What about the many, many parents who feel forced, against their wishes and better judgment, to baptise their children in order to ensure their child's place in the only local school?
All I'm asking for here, for the moment, is for this issue to be included in the discussion paper. What chance do we have of effecting any real change to the education system which widely discriminates against non-catholic children across the board if we can't even talk about them?
He replied again to say;
The Department is accepting submissions from members of the public on the Discussion Document, so perhaps you might like to put your thoughts in writing so they can be given further consideration.
You can email email@example.com
with any comments you have.
I strongly urge people to do so.
Let’s at least be allowed talk about this issue!