The Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan is the patron of nine state run religious schools.
These nine schools are the old Model schools and they are not non-denominational despite being under the patronage of the Minister.
The Report from the Forum on Patronage & Pluralism recognised that there are no non-denominational schools in Ireland. The Report stated that:-
Schools under the patronage of a secular body and which has an explicitly secular ethos.
This does not preclude the provision of a programme on education about religion. As yet, there are no non-denominational national schools in Ireland.”
Not only do schools have to be under a secular body to be recognised as non-denominational but they also must have an explicitly secular ethos. There are currently no recognised schools in Ireland that have an explicitly secular ethos or claim to have one.
Despite the Report from the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism the Minister was unable to answer a recent Dail question on whether there was any non-denominational schools in Dublin North East.
The Irish Human Rights Commission in their Report, Religion & Education: A Human Rights Perspective Recommended that:-
“Terms such as “denominational”, “multi denominational”, “inter denominational”, “non denominational” or “other” school should be clearly defined in primary legislation, Ministerial regulations or be determined by reference to the recognition of such schools under the Education Act.”