- September 2007 : Increasing use of religious tests for admittance to Irish Schools
The growth in the Irish population has increased the pressure on Irish primary level schools, especially in the Greater Dublin area. The vast majority of primary schools are managed by the Christian Churches, notably the Roman Catholic Church. The schools are permitted by law to positively discriminate in favour of church members. There are increasing reports of schools insisting that parents provide evidence that they are Christian (e.g. a baptismal certificate) to ensure that their child can secure a much sought after place. At the start of the new school year in September 2007 dozens of children in one local suburb failed to find a school place and it was noted that these children were all of either minority or immigrant backgrounds.
- August 2007 : Irish Government faces challenge on religious dress
Ireland has in the past decade experienced unprecedented immigration increasing its religious diversity. In August 2007 a member of the small Sikh community who volunteered to join the Community Garda (volunteer Police force) was dismayed to be informed by the Garda that his traditional head dress, the turban, would not be acceptable. The Garda are insisting that all members wear the standard issue uniform while on duty. The Irish government Minister for Integration, Mr. Conor Lenihan, upheld the Garda ruling. The decision was criticized by the Irish Sikh Council. The incident opened debate in Ireland about the display of religious symbols by public servants.
- January 2007 : Irish Government talks with faith groups
The Irish Government is planning further structured talks with the main faith groups in the country. The purpose of these talks is to discuss areas of common concern. Awareness of the need for dialogue was increased in the context of discussions about a new European constitution and the growing spiritual diversity in the state brought about by religious change and immigration. The Taoiseach (Prime Minister) stated that “in this period of change, that it is timely for all of us to reflect anew on the principles which guide us in our lives and to consider how best they should be reflected in our structures and society”. However, in a statement reported in January 2007 the Government said that there are ‘no plans at the moment’ to include members of the Pagan community in the talks. This stance was criticized by persons of the Pagan faith.