A modern Irish democracy must respect and reflect the diversity of Irish society and the citizens which it serves. The State has a responsibility to ensure that each child has access to a State-funded school within their locality, and that the ethos of the school is inclusive of their family’s belief system.
A significant number of parents feel that that they have no option but to send their child to a school which does not align with their belief system. In areas where there is pressure on school places, many parents feel that they are required to adopt a particular religion for their child for the purpose of ensuring that their child can enrol in a State-funded school. This situation is entirely unacceptable.
Although there have been some attempts to introduce pluralism to the Irish Education system, 96% of State-funded schools remain denominationally-controlled. This is not reflective of the wishes of large numbers of parents and the Social Democrats believe that reform is urgently needed.
In 2015, the Social Democrats proposed an amendment to the Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2013, to repeal section 7 (3) c of the Equal Status Act which currently allows schools to favour certain religions when deciding its enrolment policy. The government voted against the amendment and it was rejected by a majority in the Dáil.
THE SOCIAL DEMOCRATS ARE COMMITTED TO PLURALISM AND ENDING DISCRIMINATION IN EDUCATION AND PROPOSE THE FOLLOWING MEASURES: