|Eamonn de Valera genuflecting at the feet of Bishop John Charles McQuaid|
"Religious discrimination, like all discrimination, undermines the dignity of the human person. In this case religious discrimination in our education system has undermined the human rights of parents and their children. It also denies atheists and religious minorities from their right to access the teaching profession in a democratic Republic without religious discrimination.
It is time to challenge Church and State and demand equality for all. Religious discrimination against atheist and minority faiths teachers must be removed. Atheist Ireland is campaigning to change these unjust laws and to promote equality."
Fintan O'Toole previously wrote:
"Catholic schools are for Catholics and nobody but an orthodox Catholic will be allowed to teach in them...With the important emphasis:
The Catholic Church is tightening up its insistence that teachers must not merely be orthodox Catholics but must instruct children in the faith."He then inveighed against the Irish state:
"Public universities are colluding in a system of open discrimination in which atheist, Muslim, or Orthodox would-be teachers have to sign up to become missionaries for faiths to which they do not belong if they are to be eligible to work in the bulk of taxpayer-funded teaching jobs."He said, "the State is openly advertising and supporting this discrimination."
And some more context; Fintan wrote in the Irish Times:
"The Catholic Church’s reworked stance on pluralism in primary education... It sounds liberal: the church now accepts that the population is religiously diverse and that schools should reflect that diversity. The catch is that the diversity must happen outside of the Catholic system. Catholic schools are for Catholics and nobody but an orthodox Catholic will be allowed to teach in them. This is exactly the position articulated in a recent interview with Patsy McGarry by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin. Teachers who are not sincerely willing to teach the faith “should be able to move to the type of school where they would be happier in accordance with their own conscience... This sounds fine until you ask where these other schools might be. The unaltered fact is that the Catholic Church controls 90 per cent of primary schools and that more than half of those (1,700 out of 3,200) are in areas where there is no alternative school. Behind the nice words there is a threat: non-Catholic teachers should leave Catholic-controlled schools and try to find work in the tiny part of the system that is not church-managed. For all the diversity-speak, the church has kept an iron grip on the vast bulk of the system. And within that system, it is tightening up its insistence that teachers must not merely be orthodox Catholics but must instruct children in the faith."He wrote about the Eileen Flynn judgement which said that a public employee can be fired because their private lives do not conform to a particular church's teaching. He said:
"It seemed pretty clear to the Belize chief justice that it is intolerable in a constitutional democracy to allow public employees, paid by the state, to be fired because their private lives do not conform to a particular church’s teaching... Yet in Ireland, the Eileen Flynn judgment is still the law of the land. It was written into legislation in section 37 of the Employment Equality Act of 1998, which says that any religious-run body (including most schools and many hospitals) can take any “action which is reasonably necessary to prevent an employee or a prospective employee from undermining the religious ethos of the institution”. In practice, this includes living openly in any kind of sexual relationship (heterosexual or homosexual) that is not sanctioned by the church, or publicly advocating any policies (gay marriage, for example) that go against church teaching."