A programme to convert Catholic schools to multi-denominational has met local opposition

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Religion in schools is back on the news agenda thanks to a pilot programme to ‘reconfigure’ a small number of Catholic primary schools into multi-denominational schools.

The first such school, Cornamaddy National School in Athlone, announced it had completed the process last week.

But proposals to reconfigure schools elsewhere have been met with strong opposition from some parents.

Meanwhile, 90 per cent of primary schools in Ireland remain Catholic in ethos, a figure increasingly out of line with the religious makeup of the population.


The pilot programme aims to convert 400 schools by 2030, a pace that frustrates advocates for reform.

On today’s In the News podcast we hear different perspectives on the reconfiguration process and why some parents are opposed.

Seamus Mulconry of the Catholic Primary Schools Management Association argues that the demand for reconfiguration among parents is overstated.

David Graham of lobby group Education Equality argues that reconfiguration is the wrong way to reform schools, and that opposition to change is often fuelled by misinformation.

But first, Irish Times education editor Carl O’Brien gives the background to host Bernice Harrison.