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11. Recommendations

  1. The State should ensure that all National Schools are open to children of all religions (and none) on an equal basis.
  2. The State should unambiguously declare that the National School system is a State system of education.
  3. Every Board of Management which has adopted a “Catholics First” admissions policy should change the school policy to one which does not allow for religious discrimination at entry to the school.
  4. The Rules for National Schools should be changed (in relation to religion) back to the Rules prior to 1965.
  5. No child should be discriminated against on religious grounds on admission to a National School. This should be formally included in The Rules for National Schools immediately.
  6. Any individual parent, who is confronted (or has been in the past) by an illegal religious discriminatory Admissions policy should be encouraged by the Equality Authority to pursue a claim through the Equality Authority.
  7. The State should unambiguously declare that it cannot (constitutionally) and will not support religious indoctrination.
  8. The Department of Education should publish, along with its listing of National Scools, the patronage and admissions policies of each of these schools.
  9. Proposals should be sought from the existing patron bodies to see if they have ideas that might accommodate religious instruction for children of all religions in National School premises.
  10. Parents should help the clergy provide the religious indoctrination for their children. National School premises are ideal for the indoctrination of children in their different religions. The premises are commonly little used outside normal school hours.
  11. The Commissioners for Charitable Donations and Bequests should be reformed (if necessary) to ensure that donations made towards schools remain in use for education.
  12. The Commissioners of Charitable Donations and Bequests should require full disclosure from charities as to the funding of the purchase of all properties which they wish to sell or transfer. In the absence of such information, the presumption should be that the properties were funded by charitable donation for their present use, and proceeds of any sale must go to the same pupose, not for any general “charitable purposes of the trust” (or similar ill-defined purpose).
  13. There should be a public consultation on education provision in National Schools in Ireland. The present Forum on patronage may be able to do this.
  14. A “whistle blowers” website should be set up under the control of the Comptroller and Auditor General to allow those with inside knowledge, but who are afraid of openly challenging church authorities (or others in other fields) of any possible wrongdoing (as the whistleblower sees it), to get information up the chain of command in the State. The C&AG can filter the information provided.
  15. Those in the State’s regulatory authorities must always be aware of and support the constitutional and legistlative provisions relating to the issue of this report. From the Ryan Report “A culture of respecting and implementing rules and regulations should be developed. Managers and those supervising and inspecting the services must ensure regularly that standards are observed.
  16. No decisions should be made by the State on the basis of unpublished legal opinions – all legal opinions which are being relied upon should be published, and should be open to scrutiny.
  17. The copyright of all legal opinions received by the State should be the property of the State – there should be no legal opinion which remains the property of the lawyer who created it.
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