Sir, – In 2009, Northern Ireland was warned by the report of its Consultative Group on the Past (“Eames-Bradley”) that: “Any society moving forward from conflict has no choice but to address the separations that exist between its people . . . Specifically the arguments about the ethos or quality of education provided in the faith-based sectors have to be balanced against the reality that reconciliation may never be achieved if our children continue to attend separated schools”.
From the membership of that consultative group, we can see that it was clearly not anti-church or anti-faith.
Ireland as a whole is now approaching the 188th anniversary of the “Stanley Letter” of autumn 1831 which created the national school system.
It was specifically designed to be cross-community in structure – non-denominational, but with facilities for clergy to visit and instruct the children of their own flock.