The UN had warned the Government that the children of immigrants were in danger of being discriminated against in terms of admission to schools, it has emerged.

Two years ago a UN committee recommended that existing legislation needed to be amended to prevent this occurring.

The warning was repeated by another UN committee last year.

In 2005 the UN's Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination told Ireland it was concerned that existing laws and practice would favour Catholic pupils in the admission to Catholic schools in case of shortage of places.

It went on to say that 'recognising the intersectionality of racial and religious discrimination' encouraged the State 'to promote the establishment of non-denominational or multi-denominational schools and to amend existing legislation so that no discrimination may take place as far as the admission of pupils (of all religions) to schools is concerned'.

Last September the UN's Committee on the Rights of the Child reiterated these concerns and again called on Ireland to amend legislation.