Social Democrats will today bring to the Dáil a proposal to take religion out of the school day. The party is tabling an amendment to the government’s Education (School Admissions) Bill 2016 to remove faith formation from the school timetable.
Co-leader Róisín Shortall TD said:
“We need to take religion out of the school day entirely. I will be tabling an amendment to the Education (School Admissions) Bill 2016 today to do just that.
Deputy Shortall also called for the setting up of a Citizens’ Assembly to make recommendations to the Oireachtas on how to move towards an entirely secular education system.
“Education Minister Richard Bruton’s proposals for divestment, announced yesterday, are piecemeal and seem like yet another long fingering exercise. The Citizens’ Assembly model proved to be incredibly valuable in dealing with the issue of how to legislate for access to abortion in Ireland. The result of the weekend’s referendum is a vindication of this deliberative approach which directly involved citizens.
“The overwhelming public support for repealing the Eighth Amendment reflects a changed mood in the country. People are moving towards a sense of civic ethics and increasingly they want to see the separation of the church and state in other aspects of public services, particularly our education system where 90 per cent of primary schools are under the patronage of the Church.
“It would be very appropriate and timely for the government to task a Citizens’ Assembly to examine the issue and bring forward recommendations to the Oireachtas.”