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NI's lesson on Catholic schools

MARTIN Conroy assures us that Catholic schools do not contribute to sectarianism (Letters, January 10).

I refer him to the speech made by Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson in November 2011, when he said that people there could not hope to move beyond present community divisions while their children were educated separately. He called the segregated schooling based on religion "a benign form of apartheid", which was fundamentally damaging to society. He stated: "Who among us would think it acceptable that a state or nation would educate its young people by the criteria of race with white schools or black schools? Yet we are prepared to operate a system which separates our children almost entirely on the basis of their religion. As a society and administration we are not mere onlookers of this; we are participants and continue to fund schools on this basis. And then we are surprised that we continue to have a divided society."

Why does this apply in Northern Ireland, a country that surely knows a thing or two about the drivers of sectarianism beyond silly chants at football matches, but not in Scotland?

Alistair McBay,

National Secular Society,

5 Atholl Crescent, Edinburgh.

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