Catholic primary schools in the greater Dublin area refused at least 96 applications for a school place last September because the child in question did not have a Catholic baptismal cert, according to a survey carried out by the Catholic Primary Schools Management Association.

The survey was presented at an Oireachtas committee meeting this evening, which was examining the issue of school admissions.

The CPSMA sent out questionnaires to 456 primary schools in the greater Dublin area. Almost 70% of schools responded in full.

Seventeen schools reported refusing enrolment because a child was not a baptised Catholic.

The total number of applications rejected on this basis was 96.

The CPSMA told the committee that it was unfortunate and regressive that debate on the role of religion in admissions policies was being characterised by an almost complete lack of hard data.

It said it had carried out the survey in order to ascertain the true situation.

It said the results of its survey showed that the problem was a lack of school places, rather than anything to do with baptism certs.

The survey found that a total of 7,750 applications to schools "did not result in an enrolment". 

The CPSMA said the figure of 7,750 would include multiple applications that parents make to several schools on behalf of the same child.

While the CPSMA said many children from Catholic families were also refused admission to schools, the survey did not gather data on the overall number of applications refused for reasons other than not having a Catholic baptismal cert.