Former Education Minister Ruairi Quinn has said parents' human rights are being ignored by Ireland's failure to provide non-religious schools.
It was announced yesterday that nine new Educate Together schools will open next week.
However, critics say most of the new schools will open in urban areas, leaving rural pupils without options.
Ruairi Quinn said that even if the issue seems trivial to some, it is extremely important to others.
"I've always had the view it's more important to concentrate on educational outcomes (than on the issue of faith formation)," he said, "but for some parents it is very, very important and their human rights are not being represented."