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January 10, 2004

New school applications reflect cultural diversity

From:, Ireland - Jan 10, 2004

By Niall Murray

THE Department of Education has received applications for the opening of 16 new schools next September.

They include a wide range of religions, reflecting the widening cultural diversity of the Irish population.

Four of the schools are under the patronage of Educate Together, an umbrella body for more than 30 multi-denominational schools.

It is seeking recognition for new schools in Dublin 15, Mullingar, Tullamore and in Limerick East, where a school could not be opened last year because the Department of Education refused to pay €65,000 rent for a suitable building.

Two Muslim schools are proposed for Dublin, one by the Islamic Foundation of Ireland in Lucan/Leixlip or Tallaght/Firhouse and another by the Pakistani-Irish Association on the South Circular Road. If they receive recognition, it would double the number of Muslim schools in the capital.

Four Catholic schools are being set up, one under the patronage of the local bishop at Glenbourne/Ballyogan in Dublin and three Gaelscoileanna under the patronage of An Foras Pátrúnachta in Athy, Lucan and Mullingar.

Two Church of Ireland schools are seeking recognition, in Clonsilla, Dublin 15 and Dunboyne, Co Meath, where the local Gaelscoil was embroiled in a row with its principal Tomás Ó Dúlaing over the teaching of religion during school hours in 2002.

He was sacked by the school but withdrew an unfair dismissal claim at the last minute in April last year.

Two special schools are being set up, a Model School for the Deaf Project in Cabra, Dublin 7 and Ballytobin Camphill Special School in Callan, Co Kilkenny. The final two schools seeking recognition for next September are the Abundant Life Christian Centre in Galway and at Parkville, Montenotte in Cork city.

The department's New Schools Advisory Committee has sought the views of individuals or groups on the proposed plans in relation to the needs for schools in the area and the degree of local support.

© Irish Examiner, 2003, Thomas Crosbie Media, TCH