The Department of Education embarks on a schools building programme to provide free state secondary education for Church of Ireland pupils.

This is a major development in Irish education and regarded as response to complaints from Protestant parents and educators who were angry over high cost of secondary education in Protestant schools and, as they saw it, by the failure of the state to provide them with free state secondary education.

The massive building programme will cost several hundred thousand pounds and plans to provide places for up to 2000 pupils. The schools in Dublin, Cork and Donegal are provided by mergers of existing schools sold to Department of Education for the development. 

Mountjoy and Marine has merged into Mount Temple Comprehensive School on the Malahide Road in Dublin, and the Avoca and Kingstown School is now Newpark in Blackrock, County Dublin.

These previously fee paying comprehensives, along with Cork Grammar School, will now provide free co-educational secondary education. As the schools are under the patronage of the Church of Ireland bishops, priority may be given for Protestant pupils. However the schools are officially non-denominational and in fact have a number of Catholic pupils.

Newpark headmaster John Harris welcomes the initiative and while the schools were set up to provide Protestant children free secondary education

This doesn't mean they will be exclusively for Protestants and as we are at present we have approximately 25% population of catholic pupils this year.

He believes that a comprehensive school gives pupils more choice to follow a wider range of subjects that may suit them better than the narrow range of subjects found in a traditional secondary schools.

Too many pupils in this country are trying to follow a course for which they are unsuited, they need the opportunity to work more with their hands.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 16 September 1972. The reporter is Tom MacSweeney.