Labour TD Ruairi Quinn has said religious orders outside of Dublin have very little interest in the project to hand Catholic school premises over to non-Catholic education organisations.

The former minister for education said the fears are understandable.

However, he said the country has changed and there are a large number of people who feel obliged to have their children baptised as Catholics, despite having no intention of bringing them up as Catholics, or of practising the religion.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Mr Quinn said it is not healthy for a society to have institutionalised hypocrisy and similar cases - particularly in relation to educating children with special needs - have gone to the European Court of Human Rights. 

Mr Quinn said school provision in the Dublin region is in a serious crisis, and there needs to be coordinated and concerted leadership.

David Quinn of the Iona Institute has said there needs to be an education campaign explaining the issue, echoing the call for more leadership. 

Speaking on the same programme, David Quinn said there is local resistance because people do not quite know what it will mean and he said local church leaders, politicians and community leaders need to get involved. 

David Quinn said the sooner the church divests itself of a number of schools, the better.

He said there is a need for compromise, adding the current status quo is not in the church's interest because the pressure on it now, in certain parts of the country, is growing.

He said that by divesting schools, it would allow the remaining schools to be true to the Catholic identity.