In Ireland the Catholic Church acts as the patron of 90 percent of over 3,000 primary schools.� PictureNet/CORBIS

READMORE: Catholic church to lose stronghold on Irish education system

Irish parents are likely to play a key role in determining the future of Catholic schools in Ireland, as the new Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn, prepares to remove the majority of primary schools from church control.

Many have labeled the minister’s plans, to chnage the Catholic church’s control of Irish school by the beginning of 2012, as unrealistic.

In Ireland the Catholic Church acts as the patron of 90 percent of over 3,000 primary schools.
The church is open to reducing its patronage, with the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid  Martin supporting the process.

Minister Quinn is currently establishing a Forum on Patronage and Pluralism to examine how the management of schools will be handed over.

Speaking about the proposed changes, Michael Drumm, secretary of the Catholic Schools Partnership, said: "It cannot be forced through without the support of local communities.''

A source close to the Minister expressed their concern over the completion of the process.

"We are not going to wake up on January 2 and see that 1,500 schools have passed from Catholic control,” they told the Irish Independent.

The source added that parents in each locality are likely to have a say in the future patronage of the schools.

READMORE: Catholic church to lose stronghold on Irish education system