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Archbishop Dermot Farrell (The Tablet/JohnMcElroy)

Archbishop Dermot Farrell of Dublin paid tribute to the role of religious orders in Irish education as a Catholic school in his diocese was this week divested to secular patronage. Source: The Tablet. 

St Mary’s Primary School on Dorset Street was one of the 29 schools in Dublin involved in a consultation process on patronage in 2022 – the Schools Reconfiguration for Diversity pilot.

It was run by facilitators appointed by the Education Minister, Norma Foley. Catholic patrons account for 88 per cent of all of the 3000 primary schools in Ireland, of which only 150 are multi-denominational.

Under the Programme for Government, the coalition partners pledged to divest 400 primary schools from Catholic patrons by 2030.

However, opposition among parents’ groups and a lack of trust has stalled the process while prompting criticism from secular groups frustrated at the pace of divestment.

A report last year into a failed attempt at divestment in the Dublin suburb of Raheny showed that the process was marred by “suspicions and lack of trust from an early stage”.

The Department of Education and the Irish bishops last year agreed to the possible transfer of eight Catholic schools to multi-denominational patrons.

The results of Census 2022 strengthened the case for divestment, showing that the number of people who identify as Catholic had dropped to 69 per cent of the population while the number of those with no religion rose to 14 per cent.

Accepting the recommendation of the facilitator that St Mary’s be divested, Archbishop Farrell thanked parents, principal, teachers, staff and the board of management of the school for participating in the process.


Dublin school divested from archdiocese’s patronage (By Sarah Mac Donald, The Tablet)