The legacy of Catholic cultural nationalism and religious segregation
in Schools and the politics of religion and diversity in the Republic of Ireland
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Chapter 1 examines the influence and legacy of Gaelic-Catholic cultural nationalism on the Irish education system, showing that its main characteristics (Church control and denominational structures, patronage system, religious segregation, importance of religion in educational aims and contents up to the 1971 curriculum) reflect both 19th c. developments and the Irish Free State’s Catholic-cultural nationalism (post-independence education policies, 1937 Constitution, ‘fabricated cultural homogeneity’). It also shows that, contrary to popular belief, the denominational nature of the system itself and the ‘legality’ of religious discrimination within the system only date back to changes introduced in official education policy documents in the 1960s.

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