Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Sectarian school busses?

I would have thought this kind of thing had died out in the 1950s but in Ireland today there are (or were until lately) State funded school buses reserved for children of specific religions. In this case two Catholic school children attending a mainly Protestant school in Limerick were refused permission to use a school bus. The reason was that the local VEC said the bus was just for Protestant children who live more than 3 miles from their closest Protestant school.

The family understandably threatened legal action and the children were given passes to use the bus. In Ireland of 2006 how did anyone think that what can be seen as a sectarian school bus was a good idea and there would not be law suits.

I realise that the policy is probably just a reflection of the penny pinching common in the public services of todays Celtic Tiger, but I have to wonder how many other school children are refused the use of a school bus and are told it's because they go to the wrong church on Sunday instead of the truth that the local authorities are too cheap to put on enough school buses?


squid said...

This has nothing to do with sectarianism in my humble opinion.

The school was initially set up for protestants, for which there are few enough schools to acomodate. It is only fair that they should give those of that faith priority over other faiths. It is not like only catholics are being discriminated against, this policy effects those of all non-protestant faiths.

Personally I think the parents should have known this when they signed their kids up and it is their lookout if the policy does not meet their expectations. If they don't like it, they can send their kids to a catholic or non-denominational school.

Declan said...

The VEC were saving money by setting up a school service and specifying that only students of a certain religion were allowed to use the bus. They could have set up the bus to serve the school as a whole, but they took the cheap option and said Protestants only.

What if they set up a bus service to the local convent school and said Catholics only? Or to the local Gael Scoil and said Irish born children only?