The body representing Catholic primary school managers says it has received legal opinion that confirms schools operating Catholics-first enrolment policies are not breaking the law.

The Catholic Primary School Managers Association sought advice on the issue after the Equality Authority warned that schools operating such policies could be in breach of EU and Irish anti-discrimination legislation.

In a lengthy analysis two weeks ago, the authority warned that oversubscribed schools that were giving preferential access to some children on the grounds of their religion could be open to challenge under Irish equality legislation and also under the EU race directive.

The CPSMA sought legal advice and it claims that advice is completely at odds with the Equality Authority.

It concludes that such schools are operating within the law.

The managers, who represent more than 90% of primary schools, have now requested a meeting with the Equality Authority to discuss these conflicting opinions.