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Written Answers - Religious Education

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 760 No. 3

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 199.  Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly  asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  the reason Ireland mislead the UN Human Rights Committee by rejecting the request to eliminate religious education on the grounds that there are a growing number of non-denominational schools, when in fact there are no non-denominational schools registered with the Department. [16523/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I wish to assure the Deputy that Ireland did not mislead the UN Human Rights Committee in any way in relation to this matter.

The UNHRC request in question related to the elimination of religious discrimination in access to education. Ireland did not accept this. There is a growing non-denominational school sector in Ireland, particularly at primary level. These schools cater for all pupils and there is no denominational involvement in their governance. The existing system of school admissions is currently under review, and issues of access are being considered as part of that review process. Religious groups are free to establish their own schools to cater for members of their particular faith. This religious freedom is a core element in our system at primary and secondary level.

I would like to clarify for the Deputy that there is a distinction between the classification of schools by the Department on the basis of the ethos of the schools as against that of the governance structures of the schools.

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