Thursday, 29 April 2021
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
It is true that transfer of patronage has been very slow in the past couple of years but it is also important that transfer of patronage, where it occurs, should be done with consent. In my constituency we have a reasonable mix of schools, including community national schools, Educate Together national schools, Catholic diocese schools and a Church of Ireland school. When one talks to parents, many of them say they like the model they have and the way their school works. It is a case of "if it ain't broke don't fix it" or "don't throw the baby out with the bathwater".
It is important that we listen to parents and students, where appropriate, and ask them what model of education they want. One will often find that there are children and families from a diversity of backgrounds attending the local parish Catholic diocese school who are not looking for a change in patronage. They like the school and the way it operates and they do not want it to change fundamentally. We need to bear that in mind also. Very often, migrants who come to Ireland want to send their child to the local Catholic parish school because to them that is integration.
To come back to the Deputy's question on sex education, the Minister and Government will make a statement on that. We need to make a statement on it because the programme for Government is very clear that when it comes to this matter it has to be inclusive of LGBTI relationships.