A new primary school run by the Catholic Church will open in west Dublin even though most pupils are likely to be non-Catholic, the Diocese confirmed today.
Ninety children in Diswellstown, near Castleknock, have no school places for September as the two Catholic primary schools are full up.
Following a request from the Department of Education, the Church has agreed to act as temporary patron in a new school to accommodate the extra pupils.
“This is an exceptional situation,” a spokeswoman for the Dublin Diocese said.
“The Archbishop was asked and he felt the children had to be provided with a place to go in September.”
The Church operates a strict enrolment policy at its two Diswellstown primary schools, giving priority to Catholic children.
However, 30 % of pupils registered with the two schools are non-Catholic. This new school – Scoil Choilm – will be located in Blanchardstown beside the James Connolly Memorial Hospital.
A spokeswoman for the Dublin Diocese stressed the patronage would only be on a temporary basis for two years, at which point the matter would be reviewed.
Meanwhile, the Department of Education said it approached Archbishop Diarmuid Martin as the Church is best placed to deal with the matter.
Junior Education Minister Brian Lenihan said the school was one of a number of initiatives to deal with school accommodation problems in west Dublin.
“I have always said that measures would be taken to ensure that there is sufficient school accommodation in Porterstown/Diswellstown and the new school is one of a number of initiatives we are taking to alleviate the school accommodation issues in the area,” Mr Lenihan said.
“I would particularly like to thank Archbishop Martin for his assistance in agreeing to undertake the patronage of the school on this occasion.”
Mr Lenihan said the Department anticipated a continuing need to increase school capacity in west Dublin due to the rapid population growth in the area.
“Schools such as Scoil Choilm and the new community national school will play a vital role in reducing the pressure on parents to find school accommodation for their children,” Minister Lenihan added.
A new community primary school in Diswellstown will also be established on a pilot basis under the auspices of County Dublin Vocational Education Committee from September, 2008.
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