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When I’m obliged to have an NCT on the family car I would never expect to be forced to fill in a form showing my nationality, my maiden name my PPSN, my religion and my ethnic background.
Even if, by a long stretch of the imagination, I were so obliged, say to satisfy the CIA, I would expect the Dáil to scrutinise and approve the regulations in an act or in a statutory instrument.
Why then are these intrusive questions proposed by the Minister for Education in a “circular” for gathering in our publicly funded schools?
This “circular” – a euphemism for regulations – the Department asserts, has been the subject of consultation, but only with the usual vested interests and has not been constitution-proofed.
The Statutory Instruments Act 1947 requires all government departments and agencies which create regulations to publish them; that is, to lay them before the Houses of the Oireachtas so that they may be scrutinised and approved or not.
The public can buy a copy or download any SI from the Irish statutes website containing all such regulations and future amendments of them.
Not so the hundreds of regulations masquerading as ‘circulars’ that Education has made. Legally a child’s religion is of no business of the minister or of any publicly-funded school.
What is their business is a parent’s answer to this question: “Do you wish to have your child attend Religious Instruction in [specified denomination] or not?”
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