Council urged to remove crucifix in room

File photo

A holy row rumbles on over the decision by a local authority to hang a crucifix in its meeting room.

Atheist Ireland is to ask the Equality Authority to examine the placing of a crucifix in the revamped Kerry County Council chamber in Tralee.

Michael Nugent of Atheist Ireland has called on the council to take down the crucifix and explain why it was put up in the first place.

It is an “abuse of the purpose of a county council’’ to promote the supremacy of one religion over other religions, or over those with no religion, he claimed.

The purpose of a council is not to promote the religious beliefs of six of its members, and the erection of a crucifix is also an abuse of the code of ethics of local authority members, Mr Nugent maintained.

The crucifix has been placed discretely over an entrance door, but Mr Nugent said having it in the chamber is contrary to both the Equal Status Act and the Employment Equality Act.

At its April meeting, the council passed on a 6-3 vote a proposal by Cllr John Culloty (FF) to erect a crucifix.

“Christianity is part of our heritage. People are tired of apologising for their religion,’’ said Mr Culloty, who was re-elected.

The old chamber did not have a crucifix and, at first, council management suggested equality legislation would be breached by giving prominence to one belief system over others, but the council has now complied with the wishes of the elected members, expressed by the April resolution.


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