'Do-Nothing' Dáil kicks progress on schools down the road
Posted on June 29, 2016 at 10:55 AM
Last night our Education Spokesperson Joan Burton brought our Equal Status (Access to Schools) Bill 2016 to the floor of the Dáil. The Bill seeks to make it easier for parents to send their children to their local school, regardless of faith. The vote on the Bill is due to take place on Thursday - find out if your local TD will support it by contacting them on [email protected] (e.g. [email protected])
Deputy Burton welcomed groups such as Equate, Educate Together and Education Equality to the Dáil to watch contributions to the Bill. Joan focused heavily on the Baptism Barrier and called on the Government to support our Bill so that "The State-funded school must be prepared in principle and in practice to accept pupils from other denominations or none, and to provide separate secular and religious instruction."
When it became clear that the Government, Fianna Fáil and so called left-Independents would not be supporting our Bill and proposed to kick it to touch for 12 months, our TD for Limerick City Jan O'Sullivan criticised the aversion the Government seems to have to legislation and called it the 'do-nothing' Dáil.
Deputy O'Sullivan highlighted the role the Labour Party has had in progressing the role of multi and non-denominational schools in Ireland ."There has been a 43% increase in the number of multi-denominational schools and a 54% increase in the number of children attending such schools since 2011. When I became Minister, I continued the work Ruairi had started and last December, implemented another of the recommendations of the Forum of Patronage and Pluralism by revoking Rule 68 which placed religious instruction as the most important subject in schools, irrespective of their ethos."
Wrapping up the debate last night, Party Leader Brendan Howlin accused the Government of being unreasonable in terms of their amendment to our Bill due to the fact that they are proposing to park this issue for 12 months.
The Government's amendment to our Bill is not coherent or reasonable. They want to stop this proposal being debated-Brendan Howlin #Dáil— The Labour Party (@labour) June 28, 2016
Speaking on the Bill itself, Deputy Howlin said that what we were proposing wasn't earth shattering - it was an easy solution to allow children to access their local schools irrespective of faith.
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