A campaign is being launched aimed at changing legislation which “allows schools to discriminate against children and teachers on basis of religion.”
The legislation in question is Section 7.3 (c) of the Equal Status Act 2000 and Section 37 of the Employment Equality Act.
According to the Integration Centre, the first of these laws allows schools to refuse children entry because of their parents’ religious beliefs and can prevent children from going to school in their own neighbourhoods; while the second enables schools to hire and fire teachers based on their religion.
The Integration Centre points out that, as of the last twelve years, many schools have incorporated a ‘Catholics First’ stance into their admissions policy. This discrimination is unconstitutional, the Centre says, and contravenes international human rights law – yet it is protected by the legislation mentioned above.
The Integration Centre is calling on the Minister for Education & Skills Ruairí Quinn – who is clearly “committed to progressive reform” – to change these laws.