A Traveller family have lost their High Court appeal against a Christian Brothers school in Clonmel, which they claimed had discriminated against their son when it refused him admission.

The family had claimed indirect discrimination as result of an admission policy which favoured the sons of past pupils.

John Stokes had applied to attend the school in 2009 but was refused as it was oversubsribed and his family claimed the admission policy was discriminatory against Travellers as John's father did not attend secondary school.

They also argued that because of historic discrimination against travellers it was extremely difficult for Traveller children to meet this criteria.

The Circuit Court supported the Christian Brothers High School and on appeal the High Court backed the decision.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy said the school's admission policy disadvantaged everyone who was not the son of a past pupil and not just Travellers.

Speaking on behalf of the family, solicitor Siobhan Cummiskey
said the Stokes family were disappointed and had hoped the case would break new ground for Travellers and other minority groups.

The Irish Traveller's Movement said it was time for a more inclusive education system in Ireland.

it said this type of policy compounded the past discrimination suffered by Travellers in education and carried it through to the next generation.

CBS Clonmel said that the case was never about a specific individual and that John Stokes was one of many applicants who did not get a place in 2010.

The school said it had no option but to refuse enrolment to over 40 students every year because available places did not meet demand.