Rock past pupil takes a drubbing over letter

by Gazette Reporter

FORMER pupils of Blackrock College are being asked to strongly oppose potential changes to the admittance policy of Irish schools.
The president of Blackrock College Union, Shane Murphy, has published a letter encouraging ex-pupils to oppose proposed legislative changes.
Drafting of the Admissions to School Bill is currently under way at the behest of Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan.
She has said the Bill will create a greater social mix and transparency in admissions. Children of former pupils may no longer be given priority when it comes to enrolment in any school.
A letter posted on the union’s website urges former pupils to get involved in resisting these changes. It reads: “Anything that potentially threatens the tradition where brothers and sons of past students can follow in the footsteps of their brothers and fathers through Blackrock College is a threat to that which many of us hold so dear.”
It goes on to say: “The admissions policy has engendered a positive community spirit through many generations of ‘Rockmen’, and has never before been so unjustly challenged by the State.”
Cllr Neale Richmond (FG) was educated in Wesley High School, Ballinteer. He would also like to see changes to the admissions Bill.
Speaking to The Gazette, he said: “With any school, whether it be fee-paying or non-fee paying, there is a good case to keep families together. It feeds into that sense of community.”
However, he is unconvinced that the approach taken by the president of the Blackrock union is the correct way to get the public onside.
He said: “I thought the language of it sounded elitist and it missed a lot of the points – there are a lot of really good concerns [about abolishing such admittance practices] out there,” he said.
Murphy rejected the suggestion that the letter was elitist, telling The Gazette that the matter was not a question of money, but of continuity.

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