Letters to the Editor: Religion has no right to force itself on schoolkids

Religious instruction and worship should be moved outside core hours on an opt-in basis in all schools
Letters to the Editor: Religion has no right to force itself on schoolkids

Your series on the changing face of religion in Ireland is timely. Freedom of religion and belief is a universal human right and we all have the right to change or renounce our faith at any time.

Having ceded control of our taxpayer-funded education system to private religious bodies since its foundation, the State nevertheless denies families this right in Irish classrooms. Breaches of human rights stemming from a dysfunctional church/State relationship are a daily reality for non-religious families and families of minority religions in our schools.

Consider the words of some of the affected children themselves, which were recently sent to Education Equality by their parents.

“When the priest came around and flicked water at me I felt really uncomfortable. I stepped back and tried to explain that I am not religious but he splashed water at me anyway and made my top wet.”

“When we had to practice all the religious songs every day for the bishop’s visit they got stuck in my head and it upset me because I don’t believe in the words.”

I felt left out when the teacher had a competition about ‘what you find in a church’ — that was for the Christian students.

“When they teach us religious hymns, it feels like they are trying to make me religious and I don’t want to be religious.”

Education Equality believes in an approach to education based on human rights, where all children enjoy the same experience of school irrespective of their family background. 

Religious instruction and worship should be moved outside core school hours on an opt-in basis in all schools. This could be done quickly, nationwide, at minimal cost to the taxpayer.

Every family has the human right to freedom of thought and freedom of conscience. Notwithstanding evidence of a rapidly changing population with respect to religious belief and practice, this remains, for so many of our elected representatives, the penny that still hasn’t dropped.

David Graham

Communications Officer

Education Equality

Malahide, Dublin

Redress deserved by all put in homes

The report into mother and baby homes does not fully recognise the suffering of the girls who were admitted into mother and baby homes after the 1973 period.

Can I stress, as a casualty of this era in 1979, that we did not want to be placed into these homes.

We were also taken by force, against our will for the same reasons as our predecessors. The conditions in the homes had indeed improved considerably by this time, however, the immense pain suffered was comparable.

We also carried the lack of control, the shame and guilt, the fear of having our babies taken from us, and the terrible, terrible sense of loneliness.

We need to be acknowledged, we need to have our once-silenced voices heard and we need to have our stories listened to. Please listen to our voices now when we ask that we are not discounted from the redress scheme for the sake of a few short years.

Margaret Deasy

Cross Douglas Rd

Cork

Strife will come if rich just get richer

A wonderful piece of news breaks over our country which will no doubt gladden the hearts of all. Despite the ravages of coronavirus Irish ExaminerIrish billionaires have increased their wealth by at least €3.3bn, ( January 25) since the pandemic struck. The global position is very similar; some estimate that such wealth has increased by more than 25%.

And why not? Modern technology enables production ability, which is real wealth, to increase like never before. The fly in the ointment is that this real wealth and the shadow wealth it generates is being concentrated into a reducing hierarchy, while millions are being whittled down and abandoned.

It is as if we are returning to feudal times, when land, the only real wealth of that time, was concentrated in ownership of the few and mass populations survived in miserable insecure serfdom entirely dependent on the whim of their masters.

An inadequate economic ideology allows and facilitates exclusion from economic involvement. It is this fear of exclusion which generates extremist politics. 

The insecurity of commerce and employment contributed greatly to Trump and Brexit and similar ‘populist’ movements all over the world. And yet there is refusal to thoroughly discuss what must surely be the most critical juncture of economic power and wealth distribution ever encountered; far more dangerous than coronavirus, which will pass.

If we don’t wake up and engage in discussing and adapting economic ideology to deliver technological benefit to all human beings, we are storing up unimaginable conflict and strife.

Padraic Neary

Tubbercurry

Sligo

Create wealth before sharing it

Having read your coverage of Oxfam’s Inequality Virus Report, your readers can take comfort knowing we have the most progressive income tax system in Europe to reduce income inequality, according to a study by Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI, 2020).

The nine Irish billionaires referenced by Oxfam are recorded by citizenship, not residency, which is necessary for taxation purposes.

Personally, I take no issue with the filthy rich provided they pay their taxes. We must create wealth before we begin to share it.

Cllr David McManus

Deputy Mayor, South County Dublin

Glimmers of hope are quenched out

No sooner do we get a glimmer of Covid hope from the HSE and the Government, when we are then told the very next day that in fact it’s worse everything is getting.

With a UK variant virus here, and a Brazilian blockbuster there, it’s as if the vaccines are only in the halfpenny place.

Going by the increasing loss of faith world and Irish leaders appear to have in the potential of the jabs, are we falling into the “we’re doomed, all doomed, I tell you” phase of the pandemic?

Roll on 2022, now that this year which we were told promised so much, also appears to be going the way of 2020.

Robert Sullivan

Bantry

Cork

Red mist ascending might convince us

What if the aerosol from Covid-19 viruses was red?

Would you have second thoughts about not wearing mask, washing your hands, and keeping your distance?

People still don’t believe there is Covid-19 because they can’t see it. These are the same people who believe in God even though can’t see God. Have faith in God and have faith that there is a deadly virus. If only if it were red ... You’d have a lot more believers.

Kevin Devitte

Westport

Mayo

No end in sight

So now the problem is at the airports and travel — heretofore, it was hospitality, then in homes. It seems to me that the scientists are pulling strings with our media and politicians — remember this is their World Cup and they will not let go.

I used to be an avid radio listener but no longer as Morning Ireland, Today with Claire Byrne, Drivetime, etc, are all the prophets of doom giving no one a sense of any hope whatsoever — they continue to wheel out the same people thriving on the fact that there is no end in sight.

Tom Mulcahy

Cobh

Cork

Follow the Kiwis

New Zealand’s control of Covid is what should have happened elsewhere. Why is the same common sense so lacking in other (highly paid) politicians and so-called medical experts? It’s not that hard...

Dr Florence Craven

Bracknagh

Offaly

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