UN calls on Ireland to recognise needs of non-Christian children in the education system

Feb 5, 2016

Photo credit: Philip Hollis

By National Secular Society

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has criticised Ireland in its periodic review, urging the country to protect the rights of non-religious and non-Christian children and families.

Strong criticism was made of the overwhelming religious control of Ireland’s schools, and the Committee said that Ireland must improve access to non-religious schools. 97% of Irish primary schools are denominational schools.

It said Ireland must “Expeditiously undertake concrete measures to significantly increase the availability of non-denominational or multidenominational schools and to amend the existing legislative framework to eliminate discrimination in school admissions, including the Equal Status Act”.

The report concluded that “Schools continuing to practise discriminatory admissions policies on the basis of the child’s religion” and the Committee said it remained “concerned at the very small number of non-denominational schools.”


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8 comments on “UN calls on Ireland to recognise needs of non-Christian children in the education system

  • @OP – The report concluded that “Schools continuing to practise discriminatory admissions policies on the basis of the child’s religion” and the Committee said it remained “concerned at the very small number of non-denominational schools.”

    Meanwhile, in England, faith-schools are allowed to use discrimination on denominational grounds in admissions policies, and are among the worst offenders for breaches of the laws they are required to keep!
    http://www.teachingtimes.com/articles/illegal-admission-religious-schools.htm

    The report concluded that there was ‘evidence of widespread and serious departures from the Code,’ and that failure to adhere to the admissions arrangements may have led to potentially thousands of families being wrongly refused places at their chosen schools, with little hope of having the decision reversed.

    The accusations included asking illegal questions about parents’ marital and employment status, and the charging of fees by asking for financial contributions – particularly by Jewish schools who said they needed the money for religious teaching and extra security.

    The story made front-page news and put pressure on the government to take action against faith schools, which control their own admission procedures. Meanwhile, as the scandal rumbled on, council leaders called for a veto on faith schools’ admission policies.

    Sir Philip admitted that it was inevitable that some faith schools would inevitably show up as breaching the code because they set their own admissions arrangements.

    Some years ago when I was a parent representative on LEA committees, certain faith schools were noted for the illegality of their admissions policies, along with the absence of any of their representatives at consultation or training meetings! Their policies appeared to have been decided by “faith”!



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  • This reminds me of Pink Floyd’s The Wall.

    “We don’t ned no indoctrination, we don’t need no thought control. All in all you are just another brick in the wall.”



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  • Strong criticism was made of the overwhelming religious control of
    Ireland’s schools, and the Committee said that Ireland must improve
    access to non-religious schools. 97% of Irish primary schools are
    denominational schools.

    So much for “freedom of religion.”



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  • cbrown
    Feb 12, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    So much for “freedom of religion.”

    It is only recently that the Irish Republic has elected governments which were prepared to rebel against R.C.C. theocratic control!

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2016947/Irish-PM-Enda-Kenny-attacks-narcissism-Vatican-paedophile-priests-cover-up.html

    .Catholic Bishops flouted Irish law and were encouraged by the Vatican not to tell police about suspected paedophile priests, it has been claimed.

    The astonishing accusations were made by Ireland’s lawmakers in an unprecedented denunciation of the Holy See’s influence in the predominantly Catholic country.

    A motion accusing the Vatican of sabotaging the Irish bishops’ 1996 decision to begin reporting suspected cases of child abuse to police was unanimously backed by the government and all opposition parties.

    Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny denounced what he called ‘the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism – and the narcissism – that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day.’

    He told lawmakers: ‘This is not Rome. This is the Republic of Ireland 2011, a republic of laws.’

    Kenny added that the church’s leaders had repeatedly sought to defend their institutions at the expense of children and to ‘parse and analyse’ every revelation of church cover-up of crimes ‘with the gimlet eye of a canon lawyer.’



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  • I wouldn’t defend Ireland, far from it, but let it be said that there are many worse places than Ireland (or UK) when it comes to the need to protect the rights of the nonreligious (or religious minorities) in the education system.
    It would be fine if the UN made a long list of such places, ranked, and addressed them all. Maybe that’s going on, but the article didn’t make it plain.
    However, to address Ireland, without first addressing, say, Saudia Arabia at or near the top of the list, merely reduces the UN’s credibility further.



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  • To MadEnglishman: You are VERY correct. It is too bad that the UN of all places could address the real problems with many parts of humanity that is: Ignorance, overpopulation, corruption, and RELIGION. I guess that is asking way too much. Someday, hopefully, people will mature enough to listen and understand this.



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