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Four primary schools to transfer to non-denominational model this year

Four religious-run primary schools are changing to a non-denominational model in time for the new school year.

The schools were facing closure due to declining enrolments.

Scoil An Ghleanna in Ballinskelligs in Kerry which has just 14 students will reopen as part of the local Education and Training Board.

This will mark the first time that an existing Catholic school will have made a transfer to multi-denominational status.

There have been previous occasions where the school run by the Catholic Church has transferred empty school buildings under lease agreements.

Local Parish Priest Fr Patsy Lynch says the change was driven by the community.

"A suggestion box was placed in the church and one of the suggestions was to perhaps go down that road of patronage under somebody else other than the Catholic patronage because there are some parents who would like to send their children to a school but they were not interested in sacrament," said Fr Lynch.

The other schools changing to non-denominational models are Kilmanagh NS, Oulart, Co Wexford; Lecarrow NS, Co Rosscommon and Tahilla NS in Kerry.