The new Board of Pagan Life Rites was elected on 31st March. According to our Constitution, the Board is rotated annually and made up of four elected Regional Officers. We thank our previous Board members, Francis Devenney, Lora O’Brien, Fionnuala O’Regan and Vinnie Woods for their year of service and dedication. We welcome our new Board members, Sophia Boann, Barbara Lee, Kristian Märkus and Gavin Morrison. The outgoing Board members continue to serve as Regional Officers and Clergy members.
DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS TO DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION CLOSES MONDAY, MARCH 20TH
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The Minister for Education, Richard Bruton T.D., had extended the deadline to March 20th for receipt of submissions to the consultation process which shall assess the role of religion in schools with a view to considering changes.
In January the Minister had invited submissions from key stakeholders, affected or interested parties as part of a broad consultation process. This was initially open for a four-week period, however, to allow for as many submissions as possible, the deadline was extended and will now close on Monday, March 20th.
Pagan Life Rites fully supports the following demand for the repeal of subsection 7(3)(c) of the Equal Status Act, 2010, which currently permits State schools to use baptism as a mechanism for preferential enrolment. This is a breach of human rights and contravenes Section 42 of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act, 2014, which compels all public bodies to implement Public Sector Duty, promote equality and eliminate discrimination.
This is your last chance to have a say in this consultation process. Please feel free to craft your own submission or copy and paste the template letter below and submit to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submission deadline extension: http://www.education.ie/en/Parents/Information/School-Enrolment/Role-of-Religion-in-School-Admissions.html
Subject: Submission concerning the Baptism Barrier
Dear Minister Bruton,
Please accept my submission to the consultation on the Role of Religion in School Admissions.
I want all children to have equal access to their local publicly-funded schools and I want religion to have zero bearing in admission policy and practice. It is not acceptable in a modern, pluralist society that parents feel they have to baptise their child to ensure access to a publicly-funded school.
I believe that the only equality and children’s rights option is option 4(i). Repeal subsection 7(3)(c) of the Equal Status Act, 2010, in respect of publicly-funded schools.
This is possible by amending subsection 7(3)(c) of the Equal Status Act, 2010.
I strongly recommended that you, as Minister for Education and Skills, take this opportunity to remove all religious barriers from school admission policy and practice.
Consultation Paper specific issues:
A. The removal of the Baptism Barrier would be of benefit to families and children of the many minority religions, Irish indigenous traditions, and those of no religion, as it would increase their ability to gain entry to their local publicly-funded schools regardless of its denomination.
B. I have seen strong constitutional advice from leading constitutional experts that shows option 4(i) is possible.
C. I believe option 4(i) would be the simplest to implement.
D. Option 4(i) is the simplest approach that does not impact any of the issues outlined in the consultation.
Allowing schools to use baptism as a mechanism for preferential enrolment is a breach of the human rights of your service users. Your department is legally obliged to act in accordance with Section 42 of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act, 2014, which compels all public bodies to implement Public Sector Duty, promote equality and eliminate discrimination.