Lawmakers in Ireland are moving to get rid of a policy that allowed state-funded Catholic schools to deny admission to students unless they could produce proof of baptism in the church.
The so-called "baptism barrier" has become a sore spot, especially in Dublin and other urban areas where schools are often overcrowded. Some parents found they could not get a place in a nearby school for a child unless he or she was baptized because those slots were being awarded to baptized children who didn't live in the neighborhood.
The Catholic Church exercises great control over Ireland's educational system. About 90 percent of the country's primary schools are run by the church.
Historically, the country has had close ties to the church, with more than 90 percent of the population being church members. But in recent years church attendance rates have dropped, and fewer people say they belong. A 2016 census showed that 78 percent identified as Catholic. Many residents of Ireland say they want the church to have less influence over public life. In May, residents voted overwhelmingly to end the country's strict...