The Irish State – breaching the human rights of secular parents and their children.

Religious discrimination in access to education.

The above link is to a paper called ; A discriminating education system:
religious admission policies in Irish schools and international human rights law.

The research is by Dr. Alison Mawhinney, Lecturer in Law, School of Law, Bangor University.

The following is an extract from that research;-

“This explanation, however, did not consider whether the legitimate aim of ensuring the free practice of religion through the provision of denominational schooling took sufficient account of the position of minority-belief parents in a school system dominated by religious schools. It is this issue which international bodies would examine to establish whether the measures taken to meet the legitimate aim are reasonable and preserve the fundamental nature of the right to education, as well as the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion of minority-belief parents who may feel coerced into taking measures, such as baptising a child, in order to facilitate school admission at a later date. Central to any such analysis would be the existence of alternative schooling which did not discriminate on religious grounds and which any child could attend regardless of religious background.  Access to such schools would preserve the right of the child to education and would ensure that parents would not be obliged to baptise their child in order to be guaranteed a school place. In other words, if acceptable alternative schooling is available to a child, it is likely that a religious discriminatory policy would not be deemed unreasonable and thereby unacceptable as the right to education of the child would not have been substantially injured and religious freedom would not have been compromised. The state will be judged to have adequately discharged its duties under the right to education and freedom of religion and the discrimination would be deemed to be proportionate to the right of religious schools to maintain a religious ethos. However, if no alternative schooling were available then the discrimination would be viewed as disproportionate as the child’s right to education would have been violated on the grounds of religion. To uphold its human rights obligations the state would therefore be obliged to establish schools – either state schools or state-funded schools – with an open-admissions policy or, alternatively, would be required to oblige existing religious schools to desist from discriminating in favour of co-religionists.”

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