After Cloyne: Talk is cheap the church must be removed from all schools.


Enda Kenny’s speech in the Dail about the Cloyne report seems to signal that the south- ern Irish ruling class is preparing to break with the Catholic Church. While Kenny’s statement has been the strongest to date it is a pitiful reflection of the state that it has taken it this long to categorically condemn the Roman Catholic Church that, after Cloyne, is tainted beyond what even their most ardent supporters thought possible.

Ultimately however talk is cheap. While Kenny can play the great statesman and the Vatican can stomp deeper into irrelevancy by withdrawing the papal nuncio, the core issues around what will be done remain unresolved. While the Dáil goes on break the church still has its tentacles in the vast majority of schools in Ireland.

Currently the government has a proposal to remove 50% of the schools from the churches clutches. This falls far too short. The question should surely be how could we, as a society, justify the Catholic Church having any contact or control over the lives of children? The dangers of the Catholic Church’s involvement in schools on any level was horrendously highlighted in one case exposed in the Cloyne report, where a member of the clergy used his position on the board of management to threaten a teacher who tried to report a suspected abuse case.

This is the type of activity covered up by the church right up until 2008. Indeed there’s no reason to believe that the cover up ended then given the level of resistance to the report put up by the Church. It has exposed its contempt for ordinary people even further by closing ranks around the issue of protecting the ‘seal of the confessional’, even if that means pro- tecting abusers. Supposed reforming clerics like the Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin believe this to be the correct course of action. It is abundantly clear, for decades now, that they are a danger to society and surely no further proof is needed that all sections of the religious organisations put their organisation before the safety of children.

While recognising that abuse is always the result of unaccountable power, whatever forms that power takes, given the Catholic Church’s record, the only solution is to completely remove them from the running of schools. We also need to examine their role and place in society as a whole and end church control of schools, community centres and sports facilities

From Workers Solidarity 123 Sept/Oct 2011