Anthony FitzGerald: (Independent)

1) Yes. My daughter is at the Dalkey School Project National School. My son was educated at a Quaker School Newtown in Waterford although both nominally Cathollic

2) Yes

3) No

4) Yes

5) Yes

6) I do believe in God, I don’t believe in church dogma and am a lapsed Catholic having been educated by Benedictine monks at Ampleforth College in Yorkshire. My beliefs are Christian but also feel the Buddhist way is valid as a lifestyle and have practised yoga daily for 30 years.

Pat Kavanagh:

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 parents should be able to choose for their children which type of school is best suited to their needs, either denominational, non-denominational or multi-denominational.
2. Would you support a referendum to remove religious references from the Constitution?
Yes. I think we can all appreciate now the absolute need for separation of Church and State.
3. Do you believe that blasphemy should be a criminal offence?
I believe that a deliberate insult to anybodys religious beliefs is as bad as racist remarks and should be treated in the same manner. It should not be tolerated in civil society. However, I believe that the best way to tackle this type of ignorance is through education of ALL religious persuasions and through teaching respect for all fellow human beings. I do not think that dealing with such matters through the judicial system will enhance the tolerance and respect that one would wish to encourage.
4. Would you support legislation to prevent hospitals from having a religious ethos?
Yes, but I would also see the need for hospitals to provide prayer rooms, or rooms of solitude for those who are suffering bereavement and emotional and spiritual trauma while they or their loved ones are in hospital.
5. If elected, would you vote to ensure that religious bodies are treated the same as other organisations under equality and employment legislation?
Of course.
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.

As an atheist myself, with pagan leanings, who brought up my children through the Catholic school system, I can appreciate the concerns of any parent who has to reconcile other religious opinions with their own. My children obviously raised questions at home about the beliefs and religious practices of their friends and their families, which I was fortunately able to address. The most obvious dilema is that of ‘Santa Claus’ (or St Nicholas). From early on, I formed the opinion that bible parables were not all bad, and often served as a moral compass for my developing children. So while I hold no belief in any single divine being, neither can I criticise any other religious belief which teaches kindness, compassion, forgiveness and a respect for all living creatures on earth. I was happy for my own children to learn about all world religions, so that they could make up their own minds without bias or prejudice from me. In today’s multicultural society I see the need to review the school curriculum, which would give equal airtime to all religions, including earth based spirituality, rather than exclude religious education altogether. I believe that we should take the mystery out of our differences, and highlight the commonalities which unite us as human beings. I would like to see a modern Ireland where open expression of spirituality and religious belief is warmly welcomed and shared.

John Brady:

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

Anne Ferris:

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

Conal Kavanagh:

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

Tom Fortune:

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

Billy Timmins:

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

Andrew Doyle:

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

Simon Harris:

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

Niall Byrne

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

No Response Received From:

Dick Roche

Pat Fitzgerald

Joe Behan

Peter Dempsey

Stephen Donnelly

Gerry Kinsella

Thomas Clarke

Michael Mulvihill

Eugene Finnegan

Charlie Keddy

Nicky Kelly

Donal Kiernan

Candidates Not Contacted:

Kevin Carroll

Jim Tallon

Fine Gael statement

Green Party statement

Labour Party Statement

Sinn Fein Statement

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