No decision has been made on the philosophy of Gaelscoil Moshiológ, as a possible move away from Christian roots angers the local councilor

Gaelscoil principal Moshiológ said no decision had been made on the future of the school’s religious denomination and was simply in a “consultation process” regarding its philosophy. Responding to speculation about the school’s future in which an elected official had criticized a possible move away from its Christian roots, principal Carol Scott released the following statement.

Since October 2021, Gaelscoil Moshíológ has engaged in an open, transparent and comprehensive consultation process regarding our school’s “philosophy” with all relevant members of the school community: Bord Bainistíochta, school staff, parents /guardians and other local stakeholders (including St. Michael’s Catholic Church and Church of Ireland),” the statement read.

“Information was shared and discussed with all parties, while feedback from all relevant stakeholders was encouraged, welcomed and addressed. The Bord Bainistíochta has not yet made a decision regarding the change in ethics and before doing so, it will give due consideration to the findings of the consultation process and any decision will reflect the identified needs of our school community.

However, local councilor Diarmuid Devereux said any attempt to change the school’s ethos would be a mistake and would require discussion with elected officials.

“I think it’s wrong, it’s very wrong,” he said. “The Christian ethos of the school was there from day one, it was an inter-church school, it was not Catholic or Church of Ireland. There’s been a Christian ethos in Gorey since the founding of the town in the 1600s, I don’t understand what the board is trying to do, what are they trying to accomplish with this? »

Noting that Gorey already had a multi-denominational school at Gorey Educate Together, Cllr Devereux said changing the philosophy of the Gaelscoil without communicating with public officials had been a mistake.

“They say it’s in the interests of tolerance, but they’re already tolerant, any child can go to school.

“You don’t go to school based on your religion. I’m not saying we need religions in school, but what I’m saying is that it’s a matter of faith and the vast majority of people in this town are believers in one way or another,” he said.

“Before the board of directors makes this decision, they need to interact with local representatives and townspeople and have a serious discussion. The board of directors is ephemeral, they will be there for a while, but in a decade will they be there?

“Once the decision is made to kill that Christian ethos, it’s gone. What we have is a huge advantage and what is on offer, I don’t see any advantage.

And the Fine Gael mayor wondered that it was a step closer to losing our identity as a people.

“We’ve become tasteless in society with everything, you have to have some sort of benchmark or standard. Are we going to the point where in a few years we stop calling ourselves Irish? »

An Foras Pátrúnachta is the patron body of Gaelscoil Moshiológ and its general secretary, Caoimhín Ó hEaghra, said any departure from its current philosophy would not happen without the agreement of all parties involved.

“There are around 3,000 primary schools in Ireland, and 92% of them are Catholic,” he said.

“There have been a number of initiatives since 2012 to develop the disposal process. Since then we have engaged with a number of schools, with the Catholic Bishops, Educate Together and the Church of Ireland (COI).

“As far as Gorey is concerned, there will be no change in patronage unless the whole community is consulted, no decision will be made without them.

“It’s a process of explaining to the whole school community what it entails, and that process leads to a decision to be multi-denominational or to stay the same.”

And Mr Ó hEaghra said the ultimate goal was to make the school more accessible to a wider cohort of students.

“It is very important to stress that in terms of Irish medium education there is only one gaelscoil in Gorey,” he continued. “If you are a Catholic child and you want to go to a Catholic school, you can choose any number, the same goes for a COI school. And if you are an English speaker and want to choose a school, you have the same options.

“But if you’re an Irish speaker and interfaith, you have no choice. This is why we want to evolve towards a multi-confessional philosophy. It will welcome Catholics, COI, children without faith, which is not the case at the moment. This will bring more diversity to the region and not the other way around. People miss out on change, gaelscoils need to meet the needs of all members of the community.