Another year and another €10 million for Catholic chaplains in ETB schools
Back to school and back to €10 million for Chaplains. Mostly Catholic and some Church of Ireland chaplains cost the state approx €10 million per year.
Chaplains are paid to help mainly Catholic parents with the religious education and religious formation of their children outside of the religious instruction class that students can choose to not attend in ETB schools. In reality ETB schools are just like denominational schools and simply enrol students into religion classes.
Chaplains are paid the equivalent of a teacher’s salary and are entitled to a pension. According to the Supreme Court in 1998 (Campaign to Separate Church and State case) it was not feasible anymore to combine religious and academic education in Community and Comprehensive schools the way that a religious order may have done in the past.
However, parents still had a right to have religious education and formation, and the Chaplains are funded by the state to provide this formation in the general atmosphere of the school outside the religious instruction class. The Supreme Court said that Chaplains could not instruct a child in a religion other than its own without the permission of their parents.
When Atheist Ireland complains about the religious discrimination in the hiring of chaplains we are told that Chaplains are nice people and serve the whole school community. We are sure that Chaplains are very nice people but their very purpose is to help mainly catholic parents with the faith formation of their children. The position of Chaplains in ETB schools is discriminatory. To pretend otherwise simply supports and undermines the rights of minorities.