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Choice in Schools and Education

11.11.2005

It seems that one of the unforseen outcomes of Ferns has been the wedging of another related-but-not issue to the whole fallout. Liz O Donnell's intervention recently in the Ferns debate in Dail Eireann, reported here;



"Ms O'Donnell said that all roads led to what she called the unrelentingly deferential relationship between Church and State.She said this relationship was the at the root of society's failure to stop what she termed the Church's systematic maladministration and dereliction of duty to protect children."


That seems to be a fair enough comment coming from a party looking increasingly like a traditional secular liberal party. At that point the implication of what she was saying on PD thinking was certainly not on my mind, truisms have a way of seducing you like a siren into simple responses.

Berties rather robust defence of the Catholic Church outlined their indispensibility as education providers in the state;


"Describing the Catholic Church as an important part of civil society, he said its role in managing our primary schools was indispensable and that without it our education system would become unmanageable."

Bertie brought up the education bit Im sure inoccuously but he may have opened a can of worms. Todays RTE report sees Mary Harney supporting her own TD, unsurprisingly. It also sees an alliance being forged by the PDs and Fionnuala Kilfeather CEO of the National Parents Council Primary, the call is clear and unambiguous, choice in public schools.

That seems a tad new labour to me, I just picked up on it and decided to post. If you dont follow newLabour and other machinations across the water, they recently published an education white paper claiming to bring 'choice' to parents in piking schools etc. The paper is located here, yet it has been roundly condemned by backbenchers and commentators as being worse than anything the Tories imposed and more divisive in terms of provision. Im not suggesting for a minute that will happen here. Im simply worried that the choice agenda and its dodgy policies may shape up to save the PDs from destruction at the next election.


"Fionnuala Kilfeather, said the council believed in the right of parental choice, as set out in the constitution. She also said there had been many changes in Irish society over the last several decades."

So the ideological battle ground may yet be opened up between the PDs and their government allies over choice in public services. We havent had much of that talk thus far simply action and creeping privatisation. It seems strange that the Ferns report may be that cause which finally forces open debate about public provision of education and whether the state can do it alone, and if it cant how it should manage its public sector.

Or it mightn't
RR


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  1. Blogger Simon | 11:07 p.m. |  

    why is religion coming so devicesive in the world today. This whole american thing of the left must hate religion really annoys me. It is been driven like liberalism and conservatives by the corporations.

    woohoo for mcdonalds

  2. Blogger Cian | 11:13 a.m. |  

    I think the hatred for religion is a far more personal thing than simply enlightenment style secularism. Your right that it seems to be fuelled by senselessness.
    I went to a church run school like most boys in this country and I reckon i wouldnt have been better educated anywhere else in my county let alone town.
    There is a part of me that considers there are some who worry that the hope and encouragement to imagination that religion embodies at its best will cause minds to stray beyond self-imposed limits. Though ill be dismissed as a conspiracy theorist. Asking questions is as hegel alluded to a function of religion as philosophy.
    However there is much badness in the dogma perpetuated at the point of delivery. Dogma as it exists today has left religion for dead. Religion becomes a dogma delivery vector and its delivery in ireland was dangerous to those who were abused but also to those who trusted in it completely.
    When a religion forgets its role in the world, forgets its power and thus ignores its responsibility it can spoil lives. im pretty sure my own school was good as i was young and much of the badness had left. Yet being young i can decide neither way.
    RR

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