(Archbishop) Martin Urges Debate On School Integration

Martin urges debate on school integration

Monday January 07 2008

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has appealed for an “honest” debate on how the school system can best accommodate immigrants in a multi-cultural Ireland.

The archbishop was preaching last night at the third annual 'Festival of Peoples' in Dublin's Pro Cathedral.

This popular event attracted up to 1,000 immigrants who enthusiastically expressed in song and national costume their traditions and languages.

In a carnival atmosphere, representatives of the Polish, Filipino, Lithuanian, Nigerian, Romanian, Indian, Croatian, Czech and Palestinian communities celebrated the church feast day of the Epiphany.

Initiated by Archbishop Martin in January 2005 to respond to the changing nature of community in Ireland, the Dublin diocese now has 13 international chaplains led by Fr Gerry Kane as Chaplain for Foreign Nationals.

In his sermon, Archbishop Martin identified integration as a task and challenge facing everyone in Irish society.

And he called for “an open and honest debate” on the future of the school system — one which he said should not just be about point scoring.

Dr Martin noted that many Irish people were quietly opting out of integration by sending their children to schools with low levels of diversity.