MINISTER ADMITS DELAY IN CHURCH-RUN SCHOOL HANDOVERS
EDUCATION Minister Jan O'Sullivan has admitted that plans to divest control of some primary schools from churches are not progressing "as quickly as had been hoped".
Only two schools have been handed over to new patrons in the scheme planned by Ms O'Sullivan's predecessor, Ruairi Quinn. Two Catholic-run schools merged in Basin Lane, Dublin, in April and have been taken over by an alternative patron.
A Church of Ireland school in Mayo was handed over yesterday to Educate Together.
As far back as 2012, a study commissioned by Mr Quinn recommended new patrons for schools in 23 out of 38 towns around the country.
The Irish Times reported yesterday that the process is being delayed by legal complications and paperwork problems.
Ms O'Sullivan (right) last night said that while mechanisms are in place for newly-built schools to come under the remit of Educate Together or other organisations, the process of divesting existing church-run schools has seen delays.
She said: "That is not progressing perhaps as quickly as had been hoped.
"Clearly there are ownership rights and property rights and so on, that are involved, but I would like to move it (on) as quickly as possible.
"The hold up is not so much paperwork. It's around actually working out an agreement, whereby a school that currently has ownership or patronage of a school is willing to engage in terms of changing that.
"So it is a process of consultation and collaboration, but I certainly hope to drive it on."
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