We had to do 'pretend baptism' to get our child into local school, says protesting mother

Update 4.16pm: A mother attending today's protest against religious discrimination in the Irish education system said that her family was turned down by several local schools - until she had her child baptised.

“We were denied access to four schools in the area,” she said.

“We had to go and do the pretend baptism to get the certificate – and then we were allowed in.”

Hundreds of parents attended today’s Gathering for Change demonstration in Dublin, many of whom have been directly affected by schools' admissions policies.

“[I’m here] mainly for my son, yeah, to try to get equal treatment for him,” said one father.

“I don’t want to baptise him, I don’t feel I should have to baptise him to get him into a State-funded school.”

Earlier:

Hundreds of people are taking part in a march in Dublin city centre this afternoon, calling for religious discrimination in school admissions to be stopped.

The group Education Equality organised today's demonstration from St. Stephen's Green Park to Leinster House.

At the moment, religious run schools can prioritise which children they admit according to the school's ethos.

More than 90% of primary schools in Ireland are Catholic-run.

Chairperson of Education Equality, April Duff, says the so-called "baptism barrier" is not fair on parents or children.

"We want equality in all local schools, regardless of patronage," she said.

"We want the law that allows religious denominational schools to discriminate to be repealed so there is an absolute prohibition on discrimination against children in admitting students - that it's done on some other criterion, but not religion."

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