Schools in Northern Ireland look to educate pupils from both sides of the sectarian divide together.

A delegation from the Belfast Trust for Integrated Education (BELTIE) spoke to politicians in Dublin on developments in the educational landscape of the North.  

At present there are up to two thousand children in integrated primary schools in Northern Ireland, and more schools are scheduled to open in the future, as the Trust has received funding commitments from the British government.

Once institutional barriers are removed, people in the North really do want to get along together.

While BELTIE receives more support from the Protestant churches than from the Catholic Church, a recent opinion poll carried out by them indicated that marginally more Catholic parents than Protestant ones would be prepared to send their children to integrated schools. They say that the inclusive ethos of their schools is one which 

Allows each tradition to flourish on an equal footing, despite political and religious opposition.

Joe Mulvenna, spokesman for the Belfast Trust for Integrated Education, says that one stumbling block for the Catholic Church is the issue of religious instruction in schools. While the Protestant churches have their own established system and structure in place for the teaching of religion, the Trust has found a solution for their Catholic pupils,  

We on the other hand have proved that it’s possible, by employing Catholic teachers to prepare children.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 8 February 1989.  The reporter is Caroline Erskine.