Wednesday, 5 August 2015




I have always believed this but was reminded of it again when I read in today's IRISH TIMES that the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, is defending the policy of giving first place to children who are baptised Roman Catholics. 

Diarmuid Martin
Over 90% of schools in the Republic of Ireland is run by the Roman Catholic Church - in spite of the fact that the vast majority of the population no longer practises the Roman Catholic religion. 

Diarmuid Martin himself commented on the failure of these schools to impose Roman Catholic dogma on the people they educate when over 62% of the Irish electorate voted to allow Gay Marriage in Ireland against the wishes and instructions of the RC hierarchy. So these schools are even failing to achieve the RC agenda.

The fact is that Ireland is fast becoming a modern, European, secular and pluralist democracy in which, thank God, the churches have less and less influence. It is a contradiction for such a democracy to allow any church to have a monopoly in schools. 

If the Roman Catholic Church wants to have its own schools they should have to pay 100% of the costs for them like they have to do in the USA.

All schools should be state schools and should be run by the government and by the parents of the children attending the schools. When it comes to awarding places to children in those schools things like a religious baptism should play no role whatsoever. Particular schools in particular areas should be there to serve the children and parents of that area. 

This would also remove the control of children, parents and teachers from the local parish priest or clergy. 

When I was a curate in Kilkeel in County Down I served as the secretary of five primary schools. When I took over the task I was totally shocked at the nepotism that operated within the Roman Catholic school system in Northern Ireland. 

Normally the parish priest was the chairperson of the management committee and many of those parish priests were bullies and practised nepotism and favouritism. 

Teachers who were related to clergy or teachers who "licked up" to the clergy were given first preference when it came to appointments and promotions. 

There was even among the clergy a known but unwritten "black list" of teachers who were wasting their time applying for jobs and promotions. 

This system ensured that the clergy favourites - whether they were competent or not - rose to the top and very often the best and most competent of teachers were left behind. It was down right unjust and corrupt. 

I do not believe that there has been much change in this area and I still hear horror stories from parents and teachers about some of the things that go on in the RC school system.

We need a total revolution in schooling in Ireland - North and South - and a large part of that revolution will involve telling the clerics who control education to get on their bikes!


  1. Bishop Pat, As a totally disillusioned and weary teacher in a Catholic primary school in Northern Ireland I wholeheartedly agree with every word you have written. As a student I could not wait to be a teacher and I was full of idealism. Now, well into my teaching career, I am completely disheartened. All I look forward to now in winning the Lottery or retirement.

    1. Dear Teacher, I feel deeply for you where you are stuck. Between now and a Lottery win or retirement concentrate on the children. A good teacher can change a child's whole life and outlook. Do not underestimate the good you can do with regards the children. It will be part of your legacy. Pat.

  2. Pat is right.

    "Illegitimi non carborundum" - "Don't let the bastards grind you down".

    Fellow PS Teacher.

    1. Absolutely agree with every word Pat.
      I know one should not draw solely from personal experience, and I don't, 'cos I've looked at the 'RC system objectvely from afar, but for what it's worth: three items come to my mind.
      My uncle was a prominent RC cleric, and when I too was a 'cleric',(as a seminarian) I became aware of the rampant nepotism etc you write about. And he never for a moment considered any of it improper.
      My daughter taught in a church school where a blatantly incompetent head teacher bully created a continually disruptive cycle of idealistic young teacher turnover. She was able to do so being 'in cahoots' with her clerical masters. I only learned about what daughter had endured after she too left, and frankly felt like going back to confront the head. Fortunately she got her comeuppance with a new much younger go-ahead cleric who got her 'moved out' into retirement.
      When I learned that one of my former grammar school classmates was made head teacher of a rural Down & C. primary school I found it unbelieveable as, when at school, he was one of the most obtuse and frankly lowest achieving of my classmates who I recall failing many exams.
      But his uncle was a well known cleric!
      'nuf said.

  3. I believe that blogs should be regulated by the state and all slander dealt with, sauce for the goose!

    1. Then go and live in China where the State polices the internet :-)

  4. Here in England its a numbers game. I know a separated mother whos partner was rc. He "got" one child into school. First objection was second child was not baptised. Even after baptism the local priest refused to follow up with appropriate pastoral care requested via the diocesan office. That is if the priest was aware of letter to the diocesan office

  5. Bishop Buckley I can relate to this post so much. I am currently trying to seek guidance and advice from the Bishop's Office regarding how badly I feel I have been treated by a Promotion Panel in my school, headed by the Parish Priest. I lodged a formal complaint with the Bishop's Office a few weeks back. however I have not had any feedback to date. Catholic Ethos?

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