REMOVING a voting right for church representatives on Fife Council's education committee could be the "serious threat" to faith education in schools.

That's the fear expressed by Archbishop Leo Cushley who this week urged church-goers to contact their local councillors to object to the possibility which is set to be considered in the coming months.

In a letter to Catholic church-goers in Fife, the leader of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh stated: "You may be aware that the Liberal Democrat councillor Aude Boubaker-Calder has put forward a motion to be discussed by Fife Council later in the year that a report be written which considers the removal of the voting rights of Church representatives on the Education Scrutiny Committee.

"If this was passed, it would effectively remove from the Church the ability to influence the running and direction of our Catholic schools.

"As such, this proposal presents a serious threat to the identity and Catholicity of our schools in Fife and is also, in all probability, just the first step in the process to remove faith education from schools in Scotland altogether.

"To deprive the Church representatives of voting rights on the Education Scrutiny Committee, where they sit on behalf of us and our children, casts into serious doubt the commitment of some of our elected representatives to the future of Catholic schools."

Archbishop Cushley said there was still time to raise the issue with councillors.

He added: "The decision has not, however, been taken yet and there is still time for you to influence your elected representatives who are very sensitive to local opinion.

"If you care about Catholic schools and if you want them to continue to flourish in the future, please write to your local councillor as a matter of urgency to ask him or her to vote against this proposal to remove the vote from the Church representatives in Fife."

Cllr Boubaker-Calder raised a motion calling for a review of the voting rights of religious representatives on Fife Council committees back in December.

Councillors agreed that a report should be brought back to them after deciding against an SNP amendment that the decision should be made immediately.

Following the meeting, Cllr Boubaker-Calder said a review would allow them to make an informed decision.

"Many people are concerned that in education matters, religious representatives who are not accountable to the people of Fife have the same voting rights as councillors," she stated.

"There is a serious concern over this issue, and I took action to secure a review on this.

"It is clear this concern is shared amongst many councillors. If we make a mistake, our constituents can hold us accountable at the ballot box which is quite right. The same cannot be said for religious representatives.

"Other councils have withdrawn these rights, including after instances when religious representatives helped a minority of councillors outvote a majority.

"The law does say we must keep religious representatives and they do provide valuable insights and contributions. I am not suggesting we should be excluding them from committees altogether.

"Ultimately, this review will allow councillors to make an informed decision as to whether they should keep these voting rights."