- July 2016 : Advocacy group calls for end to alleged religion-based discrimination in Irish school system
In July 2016, advocacy group Education Equality called for an end to alleged religion-based discrimination in the Irish school system, a call made as part of a protest organised by the group in Dublin. This issue brings to the fore two competing values – protecting the religious freedom of certain religious groups on the one hand, and ensuring equal treatment of religious and non-religious individuals and groups on the other.
This call takes place against the backdrop of growing religious diversity and increasing numbers of people who self-identify as non-religious/secular.
For more detail, see Raidió Teilifís Éireann.
- 7 April 2016 : Religious and secular groups weigh into debate about place of religion in the school curriculum
In recent times, increasing debate has taken place in Irish society concerning the place of religion in the school curriculum. This debate has arisen mainly due to more religious diversity than before in the majority Catholic society, in terms of the emergence and growth of new minority religious traditions but also increasing numbers of people who self-identify as atheist/secular/non-religious as well as people who self-identify as Catholic but have low levels of commitment to the Catholic faith.
In light of this, religious and secular groups have recently participated in a consultation process about the teaching of religion initiated by the NCCA (National Council for Curriculum and Assessment), putting forth their views on the proper place of religion in the school system.
For more detail, see Irish Times.
- January 2016 : Muslim group calls for changes in school admission policies
In recent times, increasing debate has taken place in Irish society concerning how the state – and religious institutions – should respond to growing religious diversity. This debate has played out especially in relation to the education system.
For example, in January 2016 a group representing Muslims in Dublin called for changes in school admission policies that allow Catholic schools, which are funded by the state, to give preference in admissions to baptised Catholic children.
This practice may be the subject of legislation in the national parliament in the near future (for more detail, see RTÉ).
At the same time, the Catholic leadership has challenged claims that Catholic schools operate in an exclusionary way. The Catholic Archbishop of Armagh, Eamon Martin, for example, stated that the baptismal requirement was rarely, if ever, applied in Catholic schools (for more detail, see RTÉ).