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4.4 Rules for National Schools

From Current “Rules for National Schools”, 1965

The rights and duties of citizens of the State in the matter of Education are set forth in Articles 42 and 44.2.4 of the Constitution of Ireland……………..

In pursuance of the provisions of these articles the State provides for free primary education for children in national schools, and gives explicit recognition to the denominational character of these schools…………………………..

2. These Rules do not discriminate between schools under the management of different religious deoniminations nor may they be construed so as to affect prejudicially the right of any child to attend a national school without attending religious instruction at that school.


  1. The voluntary subjection of a school to the Rules for National Schools is required to gain an entitlement by the school to State funding.
  2. The Rules for National Schools (“the Rules”) are the sole responsibility of the Minister for Education.
  3. The Rules were changed in 1965, to introduce recognition of the denominational character of National Schools. This is unconstitutional (or meaningless) under Article 42 and Article 44.2.4.
  4. There was a change introduced in National Schools in the early 1970s (not in the Rules) which allowed religion to be integrated into the general school curriculum, making it virtually impossible for a child to exclude themselves from religious indoctrination – a situation very definitely in breach of the Constitution.
  5. The Rules do not allow for a “Catholics First” policy which prejudicially affects the right of certain children to attend a National School.
  6. A “Catholics First” admissions policy in a National School is not allowed by the Rules for National Schools.
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