Early Resolution to School Boycott Called for

The Equality Authority has expressed it’s concern with the developments in Ballinruane National School at Menlough near Ballinasloe where pupils were kept at home in a row over the decision to allow Travellers td attend the school. Such exclusion from education is an indication not only of grave inequalities but also of the deterioration of intercultural relations.

It is important to reiterate that vulnerable and discriminated groups such as Travellers, older people, people with disabilities, ethnic groups, have recourse to challenging disadvantages through the Equal Status Act, 2000. This legislation outlaws discrimination in the provision of goods, services, facilities, accommodation and education across nine grounds, including the Traveller community .Schools are bound by the Equal Status Act, 2000, in addressing discrimination in the admission, access and participation in education.

Niall Crowley, CEO of the Equality Authority stated, “Society as a whole has an obligation to ensure that it contributes to strengthening education for all. This is reflected in the commitment established in the Equal Status Act, 2000. Diversity within the student population is a welcome and inevitable feature of this process. A wider partnership of the school and the diverse communities in which it operates must create the conditions where all can benefit from this diversity .This wider partnership must be based on a shared commitment to equality of access and participation in education”, “In our experience this is not an issue confined to one locality. It’s early and successful resolution has a national and local importance”, concluded Mr. Crowley.