Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn has said he would favour a new model of primary school that would not offer Catholic children preparation for the sacraments during the school day.

Earlier this week, the minister announced the establishment of a forum to examine divesting Catholic Primary schools to give parents more choice.

In forthcoming discussions about divesting Catholic schools the issue of preparation for communion and confirmation is one that could prove controversial.

The bishops in recent policy documents have said they are willing to divest schools provided any new arrangement respects the rights of Catholic parents for the religious instruction of their children within the school curriculum.

Mr Quinn expressed his preference for a different kind of model, one that would not provide for preparation for the sacraments during the school day.

He said such preparation took up a lot of time in an already overloaded curriculum.

The minister said in these new schools it could take place within the school building but outside school teaching hours.

However he said it would be parents not him who would make the ultimate choice.