Time for Dáil prayer to give way to sense of civic morality

May 2, 2017

The daily Dáil prayer should be removed as part of wider moves to separate Church from State, Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy TD has said.

Deputy Murphy was speaking in advance of a Dáil debate tonight on a motion to change the Dáil standing orders on the daily prayer.

Deputy Murphy said: “The primary function of the Oireachtas is to enact legislation.  All the laws we debate and pass will be underpinned by a belief or value system. For some that is a religious value system. For others values such as equality, solidarity, democracy, honesty, and accountability form a civic morality that is not drawn from any religious belief system.  I believe we need to develop civic responsibility and morality and to do that we need to separate Church from State.”

She added; “The Baptism Barrier and the ownership and control of the National Maternity Hospital it could be argued flow from a religious belief system where we outsourced service provision to religious bodies. In this way, we also outsourced our morality as a State. It is time to shoulder our own civic responsibility.

“Religious faith I believe is a personal thing; it is hugely important to perhaps the majority of people in this country. Other people, like myself, are not believers but it does not mean there is an absence of morality. For that reason I cannot support the retention of the daily Dáil prayer.”
ENDS 2nd May 2017