Religious discrimination enshrined in Irish law

Letter in today’s Irish Times

School admissions and religion


The School Admission Bill 2015 says that a school cannot discriminate against student admission based on their religion or their “having no faith”.

However it then gives an exemption: “a school . . . does not discriminate where it admits a person of a particular religious denomination in preference to others or where it refuses to admit a person who is not of that denomination, where it is proved that refusal is essential to maintain the ethos of the school”.

So discrimination based on the “ethos”, ie controlling religion for 98 per cent of the primary schools, is not discrimination based on religion, according to the Bill.

It seems that words can mean whatever the Government wants them to mean, after all. But ask any parent or child sent to the back of the line because they don’t meet the religious “ethos” of the school and they will tell you that it looks like discrimination, feels like discrimination and smells like discrimination – based on religion.

Yours, etc,
Andrew Doyle
Co Cork.