Whose school is it anyway?
The current debate in Ireland about Church patronage of schools is often unsatisfactory and inadequate at best, and narrow-minded and ill-informed at worst. But a new book by educationalist David Tuohy SJ attempts to give depth and breadth to the issues surrounding patronage, and so to enhance the quality of the debate.
David Tuohy is a Jesuit priest and the former project director of Le Chéile, a trust set up by twelve religious congregations for their schools. He was also the academic advisor to the School Development Planning Initiative. He worked in the US, Australia and East Africa and taught in UCD and NUI Galway. So it is not surprsing that in his latest book, Denominational Education and Politics: Ireland in a European Context, he situates the often-inadequate debate in the wider European context where he documents how religious freedom and education, particularly denominational education, are understood.
David also examines the separation of Church and State in the political context of Europe, and he takes some of the practical educational solutions as developed in various European countries and applies them to the Irish debate in an effort to broaden and deepen it. The outcome is often surprising.
Listen here to an interview about the book, published by Veritas, which he gave to Pat Coyle of the Jesuit Communication Centre.