Catholic bishops have backed down over primary schools closing on holy days of obligation.

In a letter to the primary teachers’ union, the INTO, the bishops say they have decided that school boards of management, in consultation with school patrons, can make the ultimate decision over whether schools close.

There was controversy last October when bishops sent letters to schools instructing them to close on holy days of obligation.

Some schools openly defied their bishops by opening on All Saints’ Day on 1 November, and again on the feast of the Immaculate Conception on 8 December.

The INTO says it warmly welcomes the bishops’ decision.

More than 90% of Irish primary schools are Catholic.