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Picket to be placed over VEC bus

category national | rights, freedoms and repression | press release author Wednesday August 16, 2006 16:51author by Sean O'Neill - lrisauthor email lris at eircom dot netauthor address lrisauthor phone 061 418425 Report this post to the editors

The action of the Limerick VEC over banning Catholic school children is to be deplored

Limerick VEC has banned young Catholic schoolchildren travelling to school on what they describe as a Protestant bus -now a picket is to be placed on the VEC offices

RSF secretary in Limerick Sean O'Neill calls for VEC picket
RSF secretary in Limerick Sean O'Neill calls for VEC picket

Media release from
RSF Secretary Sean ONeill
For the attention of News Editor/Newsroom..

A picket is to be placed on the offices of the Limerick
City VEC by Republican Sinn Fein in protest over the committees
decision not to allow two young Catholic school children take a
bus to the Villiers School in the north side of the city.

Sean ONeill from Prospect, the RSF secretary in Limerick
said today that the stand of the VEC on the issue was a national
disgrace and it must be challenged.

The fact is the VEC has banned two Catholic school children
from what they describe as a Protestant bus, said Mr. ONeill.

The constitution declares that all children of the nation
must be treated equally but this is certainly not the case
when it comes to the Limerick City VEC.

The Limerick City VEC does not treat all children
equally and we do not have to remind people of the
awful scenes at the Holy Cross school in Belfast
when Catholic children had to run a gauntlet of
Protestant protesters.

No one wishes to see such scenes again but the
attitude of the Limerick VEC indicates a latent
sectarianism against two Catholic children.

What about children of parents who do not
profess any religion who attend school? Will
the Limerick VEC lay on a special bus for them?

As a measure of our protest we will be mounting
a picket on the Limerick VEC when their offices re
open next week.

Issued on Wednesday 16th August 2006
for confirmation please contact Sean ONeill (061) 418425 or
mobile 086 3360331or email:

author by Curiouspublication date Wed Aug 16, 2006 17:09Report this post to the editors

if RSF would be so vocal if it were two Protestant children being prevetned from getting on a Catholic bus.

author by philpublication date Wed Aug 16, 2006 17:26Report this post to the editors

of course they would.

author by Also Curiouspublication date Wed Aug 16, 2006 19:10Report this post to the editors

I don't think they would say anything if it was protestant kids. Have RSF been involved in the protests to keep Lisnasharragh secondary school open in East Belfast? No but then that is a state school in a protestant area!

author by Very Curiouspublication date Wed Aug 16, 2006 19:14Report this post to the editors

Its highly unlikely that RSF have members in Protestant areas of East Belfast. The SP do though. I'm sure they are taking up that fight.

author by derrybrianpublication date Wed Aug 16, 2006 19:26Report this post to the editors

lol, some people will say very odd things just to have a go at RSF. What in the name of god is a "Catholic bus"?

Fair play to RSF for standing up for the rights of the 2 children involved.

author by derrybrian2publication date Wed Aug 16, 2006 20:17Report this post to the editors

the Protestant bus RSF are complaining about except different religion

author by Tolerant Tompublication date Wed Aug 16, 2006 21:54Report this post to the editors

If RSF would check the legislation first instead of jumping to silly discriminatory conclusions they would discover that educational and medical establishments in the ROI can discriminate on the basis of the religious ethos of the establishment involved - see Equal Stautus Act. Protestant and Catholic schools are therefore allowed to discriminate. don't take my word for it - Equal Status Act 2000 s.7.

author by Wolfe Tonepublication date Wed Aug 16, 2006 22:15Report this post to the editors

Irony is that it was the right wing Catholic lobby who looked for the above dispensation in the Equal Status Act at the time. Question that has to be asked is why are avowedly Catholic parents sending their kids to a Protestant school in the first instance?

author by cianpublication date Wed Aug 16, 2006 22:40Report this post to the editors

If these two children were from the Muslim community, you wouldn't dare ask why they were going to Christian schools. Its outrageous, that these children would be denied a seat on the bus due to religous affiliation or lack there of.

RSF are right and you know it.

author by Spinning Quicklypublication date Wed Aug 16, 2006 22:44Report this post to the editors

The main churches want to hang onto their property - not to mention their influence on young minds.

author by Tolerant Tompublication date Wed Aug 16, 2006 22:51Report this post to the editors

Cian. You miss the point completely. Under the law of this land kids can be discriminated against on the basis of their religion. Would you please read S. 7 of Equal Staus Act 2000!!! Pity you were'nt so excited in 2000 when the Act was being draughted.

author by Donal Brennanpublication date Thu Aug 17, 2006 00:08Report this post to the editors

Its a pity RSF and others wouldnt read the Department of Education regulations relating to the School Transport Service. (The CEO of the VEC is Transport Officer by virtue of her position as CEO neither she or the VEC make the regulations, she just implements them)

The regulations clearly point out that a free bus service is provided to students who live more than three miles from their nearest school.

Im not from Limerick but I expect that the nearest school to the Gleeson household is not Villiers.

If a family decided to bypass their nearest school and send their children to a school further away from their home they are NOT entitled to a free bus service. This policy has been in operation for year and has been endorsed by the management of all the schools in the state and is supported by the teaching staff and trade unionists in the schools.

Can you imagine the uproar if the Department of Education agreed to provide a free bus service to pupils who did not wish to attend their local school and instead decided to attend a school four or five miles away !! There would be strike action within days!

However it should be pointed out that in respect of minority religions, in the event of their denomination having a school within a reasonable distance from their home they can avail of a free bus service (even if there is a school of another denomination nearer to them) This is commonly described as positive discrimination

In this context it is clear that the bus service to Villiers is provided to allow Protestants to attend their own denominational school. If Catholics choose to bypass their own schools and attend the Protest school which is further away from their home it is their choice but they have no entitlement to the free bus service.

I am amazed at the coverage of this issue in a quality paper like the Irish Times I know its the silly season but suggestions that Catholics are being discriminated against in this case are off the wall. Is there anyone in the IT that is familiar with the regulations. The same regulations apply in every part of the country not only in Limerick.

As for the Gleesons solicitor stating that the Republic of Ireland has become a multi-denominational country, he is correct, in fact I thought that was always the case! However the fact is that 99% of schools in the state are denominational, not multi-denominational.

Personally I feel that all state schools should be non-denominational. If RSF are genuine about their republicanism and genuinely concerned about possible discrimination against Catholics then they would be joining me in demanding an end to state funding for denominational schools (Catholic, Protestant, Jewish etc) and in demanding that all state schools be non-denominational. I favour a genuine Republic.

author by jerry 2623publication date Thu Aug 17, 2006 11:03Report this post to the editors

Well Said Donal .. This is just another cheap publicity gimmick by RSF. It would be much better for them to concentrate on real issues that affect the people of Limerick such as the amounts of illeagal guns and gang war fare in the area instead of trying to get there photos in the papers in time for the next election

author by Robyn - villiers school studentpublication date Wed Aug 23, 2006 14:39Report this post to the editors

I am a second year villiers school student. I live in Adare. For the past 5 or 6 years, a private bus has been organised by 2 families. I have been getting the bus for the past year.
Towards the end of the School year this year, there were talks about a different bus for the people who had been going on the private bus. This sounded great to everyone, because of the much smaller price and because it would be a coach and would be better than the usually packed (to the extent of people standing) bus.
I was talking to one or two Catholic people that attend our bus. They weret sure if they would have a place. They eventually ended up claiming they were protestant. I think it is ridiculous that people should have to deny their religio just to have a basic right to School transportation. It is ironic that my Religion tacher in school is a Catholic.

author by Donal Brennanpublication date Wed Aug 23, 2006 18:17Report this post to the editors

If Robyn checks the Dept of Education website he will find the regulations for school transport. See post-primary school transport scheme.

You will note that there is no discrimination against Catholics.

author by eirepublication date Wed Aug 30, 2006 12:41Report this post to the editors

The last 800 years it has never being about religion, E.g. United Irish men Etc

author by pat cpublication date Wed Aug 30, 2006 13:28Report this post to the editors

Bus passes for the two children have arrived at the Gleesons home. (Irish Times 30/08/06) Its still unclear as to who sanctioned the issuing of the passes and on what grounds. The VEC may have decided to avoid an embarassing confrontation, the CEO of the VEC has a great deal of discretion and the final say (short of court cases) in individual cases.

The matter could crop up again next year for other pupils at this school or elsewhere in the country.

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