Census Statistics from the Central Statistics Office – breakdown by religion.
- Approximately 1.25% of the population begin primary school every year.
- This equates to approx. 50,000 children beginning school each year at present.
- From the statistics above, it is likely that approximately 10% of children beginning primary school will attend (or apply for admission to) a school which is under the Patronage of a religion that does not equate with their parents – approximately 5,000 children per annum.
- Each of these children and their parents is discriminated against illegally, whether they attend the school or are refused a place (note that expressing an intention to discriminate is illegal in itself, without actually refusing a place in school).
- If each of these 5,000 cases of illegal discrimination were brought to the Equality Tribunal or to court, and if the complaint of illegal discrimination was upheld, the compensation awarded, given that the damage caused (isolation within the child’s community) will last a liftetime, is likely to be substantial.
- If illegal discrimination is proven, all of those parents and their children who did not apply for admission to their local National School, because of the discriminary Admissions policy are likely to be entitled to compensation.
- It is likely, from previous cases, that, although the discrimination is initiated by the Boards of Management and the Patrons of the schools, that the State will end up with significant level of legal responsibility. Regulation of the National School system is firmly in the control of the State.
- The financial consequences for the State could be very substantial.