The Education (Admissions to Schools) Bill has now passed in the Dail. From September the vast majority of schools will no longer be able to discriminate in entry on the grounds of religion. However, minority religious schools can still continue to discriminate as they still have exemptions from equality laws.
Atheist Ireland has been campaigning for ten years to remove this religious discrimination, since we were founded in 2008. We have raised it repeatedly with the Irish Government, at the United Nations, and with other human rights regulatory bodies. We therefore welcome part but not all of this Bill.
Atheist Ireland will continue to campaign to remove all religious discrimination in publicly funded schools in Ireland, in the four areas of our Schools Equality PACT — Patronage, Access, Curriculum, and Teaching. It is essential that all four of these areas are tackled simultaneously. This requires amendment of the Education Act and other Acts.
We will continue to work on this alongside our colleagues in the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Ireland and the Evangelical Alliance of Ireland, who are also discriminated against in Irish schools and who support secular education. Our three groups published our joint analysis of this Billat the end of May....
The RC Church predominates in Ireland and the CofE in England. The word 'secularism' only exists because of organised religion. You would think religionists would respect the need for it even if they somehow can't grasp why our children need to be educated together in a fair, inclusive system.