The Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary Sector - Report of the Forum's Advisory Group
The fact that 96 percent of primary schools in Ireland are under denominational patronage is unique among developed countries. The reasons for this are deeply rooted in history and in the belief system of the population. With the establishment of the National (Primary) School system in 1831 the State provided financial support to local patrons for primary school provision, on the condition that patrons observed the regulations of the newly established Commissioners of National Education. While the State favoured applications from patrons of mixed denominations, what evolved, in practice, was that the great majority of schools came under the patronage of individual clergymen of different denominations.
Government of Ireland