Parents talk about the obstacles in obtaining a secular education for their child in Ireland
Alex Meehan of the Sunday Business Post interviewed some parents recently who have persevered in trying to get a secular education for their children. Although parents have the right to ask for their children to be exempted from religious classes at school in Ireland, those who opt for this meet with varying degrees of accommodation from schools and communities alike. Some are indifferent, others very accommodating, and a few even hostile.
One father, whose young child has been shunned by his local community, had this to say:
“People seem to think that I was motivated by wanting to cause trouble, but they have no idea of the lengths I went to to try to solve the problem before going public with it. They don’t know the full story, and they don’t seem to want to find out. It’s very strange that over a difference in opinion, a child gets punished. I’m very surprised by that. I thought we could all just agree to differ and move on, but apparently not.”
Parents interested in finding out more about this issue and their rights can do so by emailing us here, joining our forums or finding us on Facebook.
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I went through this with my kids: the usual thing to do with them was class them with all the other troublemakers and make them stand in the hall while indoctrination was happening. My youngest is now in a multi-denominational school: by no means perfect, but at least no treat-the-child-as-a-pariah.
I thought that the constitution guaranteed freedom of religion: the reality is that it forces Catholicism on everyone in the educational system.
Terrible! It sounds like Ireland the U.S. are converging on the need for similar constitutional amendments, but from different directions. There should be separation of school and state, the potential for abuse and conflict of interest of having the government running the schools was amply demonstrated by WWII and the cold war of the last century. Independently educated children can serve as another check on government power.