Atheist Ireland raises religious discrimination in Irish schools with UN and C&AG
Atheist Ireland has asked the United Nations to raise religious discrimination in Irish schools when it next questions Ireland on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. We have also made a complaint to the Irish Comptroller and Auditor General about the misuse of public funds regarding the teaching of religion in Irish schools.
The Irish Government aims to have 400 multi-denominational schools by 2030. This clearly is not happening, as the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission has told the UN. And even if it did happen, it would not address the problem.
Multi-denominational schools are still religious schools. They do not respect the freedom of conscience of atheist families. Instead we need non-denominational schools, which treat everyone equally and do not promote either religion or atheism.
Also, even if they existed, having 400 multi-denominational schools would not solve the problem, as most parents would not be able to access these schools. Having multiple school patrons, each with their own ethos, is the problem not the solution.
As an immediate step, schools must allow children to leave the classroom during religion class. Atheist Ireland has made a complaint to the Irish Comptroller and Auditor General about this, as schools that receive public funding are constitutionally obliged to do this.
Parents have a legitimate expectation that the State will fulfil its Constitutional duty to protect their Constitutional rights, and to fund the protection of these rights, and to not fund the erosion of these rights. The Department of Education is aware that many schools refuse to vindicate this right, yet the Department still gives them funding.
Atheist Ireland has also asked the UN to raise the right to objective sex education, and Section 37 of the Employment Equality Act, which allows publicly funded schools to discriminate against teachers on the ground of religion.
Ireland is no longer a Catholic country. We are now a pluralist country with Catholic laws that we are gradually dismantling. The most important next step is removing the anachronistic control that the Catholic Church has over the education of our children.