moral and spiritual traits. Illustrations of this could be found in comments made by school
inspectors, with, for example, Deputy-Chief Inspector of National Schools
Seumas Fenton declaring in 1938, as part of a conference on ‘Tradition and
Nationality’ reproduced in the Irish School Weekly, that ‘[the Irish people’s]
afflictions were purifications of the spirit, preparatory to final national triumph’.68 Along similar lines, the idea of a symbiosis between the national
and spiritual ideals was central in the historical perspective of Minister
for Education Richard
to inclusiveness and reinforce the arguments of those who want to restrict participation to members of the dominant nationality. In the worst case scenario, it might be used to justify restriction of minority rights and even physical repression of those belonging to other ethno-confessional communities.
We can certainly see this in Greece, where there has historically been little distinction between being Greek and being Orthodox. The first constitutional text of 1822 classifies as Greeks ‘all natives who believe in Christ’, and this
boys and girls on an equal basis, regardless of social
background, financial status, religion, race, nationality, gender, educational standard or physical challenges. All, however, is subject to the existing availability of
appropriate resources in the school.80
Ardscoil La Salle upholds a particular ‘characteristic spirit’ and ‘the religious
and educational philosophy of the De La Salle Brothers’ and expects first-year
applicants to ‘be willing to accept the school ethos’, which is, however, one step
down from Dominican College’s expectation for parents and pupils
to consider such programmes as being outside the range of social priorities.
For example, in 2008, a primary school in a Dublin suburb with a very significant intake of ‘newly arrived’ immigrant children (nearly 400 children of
forty-seven nationalities and almost as many languages) had seen the number
of its language-support teachers fall from nine to six. The 2009 public-service
cuts reduced this number to two teachers, while the needs remained the same,
as was pointed out in an interview on RTÉ Radio 1 by Enda McGorman, head
of the school at the time.63
63 Ibid., p. 17.
64 See M. Bourdeaux, Religious Ferment in Russia (London: Macmillan, 1968).
65 M. Bourdeaux, Patriarchs and Prophets (London: Macmillan, 1970).
66 An overview of its activities can be found in V. Stanley Vardys, The Catholic Church, Dissent and Nationality in Soviet Lithuania (New York: East European Quarterly, 1978); an account relying on extensive extracts can be found in M. Bourdeaux, Land of Crosses – The Struggle for Religious Freedom in Lithuania, 1939