How the State Religious Education Course breaches Human and Constitutional Rights

This week the Minister for Education, Richard Bruton issued a new Directive to ETB schools and colleges on religion.

This new Directive has been a long time coming. Atheist Ireland has been working on this for years as the majority of the complaints we get are from parents and students about the State Religious Education course.

In 2016 we researched hundreds of Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act from the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) about how it devised the State Religious Education course at second level. This research supports the case that Atheist Ireland had been making for years that:-

(a) The State second level Religious Education course disrespects the philosophical  convictions of atheist, secular and minority faith families and that, contrary to Artice 42.1 of the Constitution, it discriminates against these families,

(b) That State-funded Irish schools are illegally forcing children of atheist, secular and minority faith families, into Religious Instruction and Catholic faith formation, contrary to Article 44.2.4 of the Constitution, and several human rights treaties that Ireland has signed up to.

The Report which you can find here, AI-State-Religious-Education-Course-Report(2), gives an understanding of the background to the new Directive issued by the Department of Education this week on religion in ETB schools.

The Directive only applies to ETB schools and colleges but the exact same breach of Constitutional and Human Rights is happening to parents and their children in the other schools at second level under the patronage of the Catholic Church.


Atheist Ireland