Judgment reserved on school patronage bid

The High Court has reserved judgment in an action brought by a secular schools body over a decision that an education and training board should run a new primary school due to open in Cork next September.

Secular Schools Ireland Ltd (SSI), which was one of four applicants seeking to open the new school in Carrigtwohill, claimed it was not afforded fair procedures before its bid to become patron was rejected.

The Cork Education and Training Board (ETB) was chosen by the education minister to act as patron. The action is against the minister, Ireland, and the attorney general.

SSI was set up to promote secular child-centred co-education. Represented by Gerard Humphreys, it sought orders quashing the minister’s decision to refuse to consider its application for patronage of the new school. The June 10 decision stated the application had been “deemed invalid”.

It also seeks to quash the decision to award patronage of the school to the Cork ETB. It claims the minister failed to afford SSI the opportunity to address the purported invalidity of its application or to address any concerns the department may have had.

The State respondents, represent-ed by David Hardiman SC, reject the SSI’s claims and say the minister’s decision should remain undisturbed.

At the High Court yesterday, after hearing submissions from both parties, Mr Justice John Hedigan said he was reserving a decision. He said he hoped to be in a position to give his judgment as soon as possible.


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