Reflections on recent developments in the governance of schools in Ireland and the role of the church

Michael Connolly, Chris James, Luke Murtagh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article analyses recent developments in school governance in Ireland. The context for school governance in Ireland is changing. Features of this new context include increased population diversity partly because of immigration; an increasingly negative attitude to religion; a decline in religious observance; economic growth; the school performance compared with other countries; increasing population size; the nature of the electoral system, which brings local issues to the fore; and the unionization of the teaching profession, which affects system change. This changing context is set against the embedded and strong influence of organised religion. Disquiet at the church's influence on educational policy and practice is increasing. The government's intention to address this influence is slow to impact but evidence indicates that the role of religious institutions in school governing in Ireland is declining. Because the present situation is unsustainable, a crisis in school patronage is looming.

Original languageEnglish
JournalManagement in Education
Early online date6 Jun 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.


  • church and education
  • religious institutions and schools
  • school governance
  • school governing
  • schools in Ireland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Strategy and Management


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