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Parents and pupils march for access to non-religious school

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Children at the school protest in Harold’s Cross yesterday

Children at the school protest in Harold’s Cross yesterday

Children at the school protest in Harold’s Cross yesterday

Two-hundred parents and children marched through Harold's Cross yesterday demanding access to a non-denominational school in their neighbourhood.

Around 200 adults and pupils walked from the park to the bridge and back to highlight their concerns over a Department of Education decision that they claim excludes them from attending a new school.

Argue

The parents, whose children attend 30 primary schools in D8, D12, D6 and D6W, said they cannot understand the logic behind the decision to allow only children living in the school catchment areas of D6 and D6W to attend a new post-primary school to be built at the former Harold's Cross Greyhound stadium.

They argue that they live near the new school, yet will have to drive or bus their children to other non-denominational schools outside the area.

Father-of-one John Maher (54), from Crumlin, took part in yesterday's demonstration with his son Qi (11), who is currently in fifth class at the Canal Way Educate Together school in Dublin 8.

Mr Maher said he worries that Qi will not have access to a non-religious, co-educational school when he enters post-primary.

"There's that uncertainty," he said. "I have no religion and neither does he, so I wouldn't feel comfortable going to any of the Catholic schools near me, so I have no idea where we'd be left," he said.

Aside from preferring to have his son walk or cycle to school, Mr Maher said he wants him to keep the friends he has now.

"I'm quite passionate about Educate Together, and I don't want my son to go to a traditional Catholic boys' school," he said.