Twelve new primary schools due to open later this year will all be multi-denominational and two will teach all subjects through the medium of Irish. 

Announcing the patrons of the planned new schools Minister for Education Joe McHugh said local parental preference was "strongly reflected" in the choice of patron made. 

Multi-denominational patron body Educate Together will run seven of the new schools, in counties Wicklow, Kildare, Dublin, and Cork. 

Patronage of a further three schools, two in Swords in Co Dublin and a third in Dunshaughlin in Co Meath, has been awarded to local Education and Training Boards (ETBs).

An Foras Pátrúnachta, which runs Gaelscoileanna, will act as patron for two schools, in Dublin's Booterstown/Blackrock area and in Maynooth in Co Kildare.

The 12 schools are opening in areas where there is a demographic demand for additional school places.

Parents were invited to express their preference in terms of school ethos and patron, and language of instruction, under an evaluation process established by the Department of Education in recent years.

Taken together, the new schools will eventually cater for close to 3,000 pupils. They will open initially in temporary accommodation. 

The seven schools that will operate under the patronage of Educate Together are in the following areas; Glasheen in Cork city, Kilcoole/Newtownmountkennedy in Co Wicklow, Leixlip in Co Kildare, the Killester/Raheny/Clontarf and the Donaghmede/Howth/Dublin13 areas of Dublin, as well as Dublin 6/6W/Clonskeagh  and Goatstown/Stillorgan/Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown suburbs.

Nine of the new schools will be 'eight classroom' schools, intended to cater for around 200 children in total.

However the last three of the schools listed above - all to be run by Educate Together - will be double that size, with 16 classrooms to cater for more than 400 pupils.

Criticism of behaviour over Dunshaughlin school

The body charged with adjudicating on patronage applications for the new primary schools has criticised the behaviour of Louth and Meath Education and Training Board during the application process for patronage of the planned Dunshaughlin school.

In a letter to the Minister the New Schools Establishment Group criticises LMETB's publicity material, which "appeared to" suggest that a parental vote for LMETB as patron of the new school would secure a place for their child in the local ETB second-level school later on.

The awarding of patronage is based on the votes of local parents in a verified online process overseen by the Department of Education.

Promotional literature distributed by Louth and Meath Education and Training Board had a banner headline which read "do you wish to secure your child’s future education at Dunshaughlin Community College?". The literature went on to state that the new primary school, if LMETB won patronage, would act as a feeder school and that a vote for LMETB would "secure a place for your child".

The information was published on a number of social media platforms and LMETB’s website.

This contravenes the code of conduct laid down by the Department of Education to govern campaigning by patron bodies, which states that "securing the patronage of a new primary school in the area to be served does not confer rights of transfer to any particular post-primary schools in that area".

The letter to the minister states that "while the Group acknowledges that the patron body confirmed that it issued clarifications immediately following notification of the issue, it considers that the information provided to parents in the first instance had the potential to be misleading or confusing for parents and also that the issuing of clarifications did not of itself fully remedy the matter".

In the end LMETB won the vote for patronage of the new school by two votes, with Educate Together coming second.

The New Schools Establishment Group says in its letter that it is satisfied that parents and children of the Dunshaughlin area will be well served by the outcome.

Irish language body Conradh na Gaeilge has strongly criticised the patronage awards announced today, calling them "bad" and "disastrous" decisions for Irish medium education.

The organisation said while it welcomed the establishment of two new gaelscoileanna, the Department should be prioritising Irish medium education choice. 

It cited ESRI research which found that while 23% of parents said they would send their child to a Gaelscoil if one was available, just 5% of primary schools are Irish medium. 

Conradh na Gaeilge called on the Minister for Education to "take control" of the new schools establishment process. 

Referring to the fact that all of the new schools, including the 2 new Gaelscoileanna, will be multi-denominational, the organisation called on the Department to prioritise Irish medium education in the same way as it was prioritising multi-denominational education.