8 December 2015
By Tom Collins
Jonathan O’Brien TD to introduce bill to ban religious discrimination in schools
Deputy Jonathan O’Brien will today introduce legislation that, if passed, would have the effect of “ending religious discrimination” against children entering the school system.
The Cork-based Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson said will introduce the Equality in Education Bill 2015 in order to repeal the legislative provision that allows religious ethos schools discriminate against children of different faiths or from a non-faith background.
This currently has the effect of making their parents either compelled to baptise their against their wishes, or engage in a lengthy and not always successful process of finding a school that will accept their child.
Deputy Jonathan O’Brian said:
“It is indefensible that in this day and age we have a structure in place that allows for religious discrimination against four year olds.
“This Bill is designed to repeal this section while also allowing for children to be taught religious studies in a broad multi-denominational sense, and allow for children to engage in faith formation outside of normal school hours should their parents want that, as happens with many children currently attending multi-denominational schools.
“I am bringing this Bill forward as a genuine initiative to begin dialogue and have this matter addressed as the government response that this can be dealt with simply through the divestment of patronage programme is completely insufficient.
“It is for this reason that I am calling on the Minister [for Education] to allow this Bill to proceed so that we might address this matter properly.”