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Equal school access for unbaptised children in Ireland

Equal school access for unbaptised children in Ireland

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This petition has been created by Paddy M. and may not represent the views of the Avaaz community.
Paddy M.
started this petition to
The Joint Oireachtas Sub-Committee on Public Petitions
Hi. My name is Paddy Monahan. I am from Raheny in Dublin and I am a very happy father to a three month old son. But I am not happy that kids can be rejected by Irish schools based on religion. Below is the petition I am putting before the Oireachtas petitions committee. I really hope you'll support it.

“Section 7(3)(c) of the Equal Status Act 2000 allows schools operated by religious institutions to discriminate in their enrolment policies against unbaptised children. Since almost all schools in the State are owned by religious institutions, though State-funded, unbaptised children face severe barriers to access to education - barriers that have been created by the State. The mere existence of section 7(3)(c) introduces entirely unwarranted tension, anxiety and uncertainty into the lives of children, parents and families in Ireland.

Based on section 7(3)(c), schools throughout the country state in their enrolment policies that baptised children take preference over unbaptised children. Indeed, in many cases a baptised child from anywhere else may be enrolled ahead of an unbaptised local child. This situation is manifestly unfair, discriminatory and undemocratic. This issue affects not only children and parents but all Irish people with an interest in fairness and democracy.

There is no constitutional basis for this discrimination. Article 44.2.3 of the Constitution states that “The State shall not impose any disabilities or make any discrimination on the ground of religious profession, belief or status”.

To this end, this petition demands the repeal of section 7(3)(c) of the Equal Status Act 2000 and that the Government takes any and all actions necessary to ensure fair and equal access to education for all children within the State.”

[Please note: The Oireachtas Petitions Committee states on its webpage that, at its discretion, it may make petition supporters' details public]

UPDATE 27/11/2015: Hi all. Many, many thanks for your support over the past few months. I lodged this petition last week with lots of parents (and politicians and journalists) in front of the Dáil. We got almost 20,000 signatures in a few months (18,000 online plus 1,600 in one day on Grafton St). However, please sign if you haven't already - we have to keep building pressure until this horrible law is changed. See equalschoolaccess.com for more information. Don't give up the fight! Paddy.

Posted (Updated )