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It is not the Church's job to provide education in this country, Catholic barrister says

A Catholic barrister says it is not up to the Church to provide education for the children of this country.

It has been accused of depriving pupils of school places as it defends its right to keep the baptism barrier .

The Catholic Church is warning that removing the barrier will leave the State at risk of massive legal action.

It is unhappy that rules will be different for minorities who will still be able to admit children of their faith - even where places are oversubscribed.

Barrister Maria Steen of the Iona Insitute says the government needs to look at resources rather than the Church.

She said: "There has been an abysmal failure on part of this Government to identify areas of rapid growth and provide school places, and there’s no excuse for them trying to pass the buck to the churches, and particularly the Catholic Church.

"They’ve been hiding behind the Catholic Churches schools for long enough. It is the minister’s duty to provide schools, not the Catholic Churches."