This is what we sent to the local press after the visit to the Minister for Education and Skills
Mid West Humanists
An Atheist Community in Limerick, Clare, and Tipperary
www.facebook.com/groups/midwesthumanists/ 28 November 2014
For Immediate Release
Mid-West Humanists meet Minister for Education and Skills and ask that Ireland have a State Secular system of schools
Members of the Mid-West Humanists (MWH) met Jan O’Sullivan TD Minister for Education and Skills on 28 November 2014 to ask that Ireland’s system of schools, primary and second-level, be changed to a state system of entirely secular schools.
The Mid West Humanists said to the Minister that the present education system discriminates against children who have no religion and breaches their human rights by denying them access to an education free from the teaching of religious beliefs as facts. These children have the same rights as those of any religion to be taught in an objective manner by the teachers, whom their parents also pay through their taxes. In the last census in 2011 there were 256,000 people who stated that they had no religion, though the true number is substantially more.
The present system – the Patronage system – is biased towards religion, and towards some few religions even more strongly.
There are 3200 primary schools in Ireland. For 94% of these schools, the Patron is a religious organisation, and for 90% the Patron is Roman Catholic. Of the 3200 schools, 1800 are each more than 10km from the nearest other primary school. These all have Roman Catholic patrons. These schools are smaller than average, and these districts cannot support 2 schools.
The changes that the Mid-West Humanists seek to Ireland’s education system, in addition to removing the bias and the discrimination, will make it easier for government to deal with the increasing variety of religions to which people in Ireland belong – including making it easier to provide education.
The secular system that we propose would also liberate teachers who are unhappily forced to teach values in which they no longer believe.
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