Eamonn Zaidan:

1.      Will you work to reform the education system so that all children in your constituency can access publicly-funded schools which have no religious ethos?

Yes, I believe that any school receiving public monies should have no main/majority religious ethos, but should provide a time and place in a multi-denominational environment to facilitate students of whatever faith. If question two of your questionnaire were to be put to a referendum, it could be enacted there.

2.      Would you support a referendum to remove religious references from the Constitution?

I believe the time has come to separate Church from State, but in doing so, there would have to be a consensus on what core common vales we as a nation have without alienating anyone. I am in favour of a referendum on this issue, but it must be debated at length before it is rushed into. Past referenda such as abortion, divorce and up to Lisbon have been put to the people without proper debate leaving a divided electorate in each case. Proper and informed debate is essential before any such referendum can take place. My definitive answer is yes, I would support religious references be removed from the constitution except for the wording that would guarantee the right to religious freedom under equality, I hope that makes sense.

3.      Do you believe that blasphemy should be a criminal offence?

No, in modern Ireland this law should never have been introduced and if elected as an Independent, I would work with others be they Party or Independent to have the act repealed

4.      Would you support legislation to prevent hospitals from having a religious ethos?

This question is a little more difficult to answer as in times of being unwell, the majority of people turn to their beliefs for comfort, just like a child would have a ‘comfy’ blanket. In saying that, I would support that each public hospital should have the facilities to cater for each different faith be it Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Atheist, etc… However, it is the patient’s choice to choose, but therein les a dilemma whereby some faiths do not allow even a simple blood transfusion which could be a question of life or death for the patient and it is the doctor’s duty under their oath to save lives regardless of faith. Again, it is an issue for debate if it came to a referendum.

5.      If elected, would you vote to ensure that religious bodies are treated the same as other organisations under equality and employment legislation?

I believe in equality for all, not based on gender, sexual orientation, religion, so the answer is yes.

6.      Do you believe that religions should have to pay their fair share of tax on income that does not come from charitable activities?

Yes.

7.      If you wish to provide a brief general statements of your views on the future development of secularisation in Ireland, or to highlight any previous comments you have made on related issues, please do so.

I have answered your questions as honestly as I can based on my own beliefs, life experiences etc. Church and State should be separated from the constitution but as I said in a previous answer, this would need a full and fair debate to inform the electorate. At this moment in time, the electorate is angry and depressed at the mismanagement of the economy, so their main focus is employment, economic recovery. We are all concerned for the future as I am sure your own organisation is, so whilst some of your questions can be resolved without any major upheaval, their main focus would not be a constitutional referendum at this time.

I am in favour of change and I believe that if and when we have leaders who are strong and not coming form the more traditional Catholic ethos, then I would see a change coming.

Alex White

1. Will you work to reform the education system so that all children in your constituency can access publicly-funded schools which have no religious ethos?

Yes. Labour believes that every parent has a right to send their child to a school regardless of religious ethos. The system of patronage that evolved when 95% of the population was Catholic is no longer appropriate. The party seeks to establish a forum involving parents, patrons, teachers and principals; and it would seek to provide a future plan for primary education. See more at http://www.labour.ie/press/listing/126779761611374368.html

2. Would you support a referendum to remove religious references from the Constitution?

Labour wants to establish a Constitutional Convention to look at all aspects of the Constitution and seek to write a draft for a new one within a year of office.

3. Do you believe that blasphemy should be a criminal offence?

No. Labour will seek to repeal this in office.

4. Would you support legislation to prevent hospitals from having a religious ethos?

Labour would welcome change in this area but we have not made any specific proposals re hospitals.

5. If elected, would you vote to ensure that religious bodies are treated the same as other organisations under equality and employment legislation? Yes.

6. Do you believe that religions should have to pay their fair share of tax on income that does not come from charitable activities? Yes.

In addition, see the statement provided by the Labour Party on behalf of all its candidates.

Raymond Whitehead:

DDI is committed to giving the the power of referendum back to the people of Ireland and has no desire ,(being committed to serving the people), to impose any particular religious or non-religious belief system and wish only to enable people to live in respect and harmony with their fellow citizens whatever their beliefs, and believe in freedom of choice. The Swiss have had Direct Democracy for hundreds of years and have lived with a number of nationalities and religions and have not had any internal race or religious conflicts or a war with other countries in almost 600 years , 2 world wars passed them by ,they have no religious or race conflicts despite having people of French,German, Swiss, Italian and Romantic nationalities etc living peacefully together, including Chatholics , Protestants , non believers etc. I believe it is more important for people to find the things they have in common to create a better future to live in harmony and respect. I hope this goes some ways towards answering your questions.

Aidan Culhane:

See the statement provided by the Labour Party on behalf of all its candidates.

Olivia Mitchell:

See the statement provided by Fine Gael on behalf of all its candidates.

Eamonn Ryan

See the statement provided by the Green Party on behalf of all its candidates.

Alan Shatter:

See the statement provided by Fine Gael on behalf of all its candidates.

Peter Matthews:

See the statement provided by Fine Gael on behalf of all its candidates.

Sorcha Nic Cormaic:

See the statement provided by Sinn Fein on behalf of all its candidates.

No Response Received From:

Maria Corrigan

Nicola Curry

Shane Ross

Jane Murphy

John Doyle

Candidates Not Contacted:

Buhidma Hussein Hamed

Gerard Dolan

Fine Gael statement

Green Party statement

Labour Party Statement

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