Ireland moves to protect gays but not atheists in schools

Ireland moves to protect gays but not atheists in schools

THE DÁIL HAS passed a Bill that will make it illegal for religious-run schools to discriminate against LGBT teachers.

But according to Michael Nugent, above, of Atheist Ireland, the Irish Government has reneged on a pledge to protect atheists and teachers of minority faiths from religious discrimination.

The Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2013 amends the provisions of Section 37(1) of the Employment Equality Act. It has already passed through the Seanad, and will now go to the President for signing.

Section 37 currently allow for discrimination against workers based on their family status and sexual orientation.

In Ireland, schools run by the Catholic Church (the vast majority) are exempt from certain aspects of equality law because of their religion’s ethos and teachings. They were given an exemption to the European Equality Directive back in 2000 which allows for this ethos to be upheld during recruitment.

Labour TD Aodhán Ó Riordáin said at the time:

In its current form, this section of this Act allows religious institutions to discriminate against employees who may contradict their ethos.

The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) welcomed the news. Its Director of Education Policy, Sandra Irwin-Gowran, said:

We are delighted that this Bill has passed all stages in the Dáil. This Bill is the key piece of the legislative map that will allow LGBT people to be themselves, get married and have a family without a threat to their job if they work in a religious run institution.

Kieran Rose, co-Chair of GLEN, said:

The passage of this Bill by the Oireachtas marks the final step in a remarkable year for equality for LGBT people.  We would like to express our thanks to Minister Aodhán O’Ríordán and Ministers Frances Fitzgerald and Jan O’Sullivan and the officials at the Department of Justice for their great achievement in bringing this Bill to fruition.

He added that the Bill:

Has wider implications for our schools and in particular for LGBT young people; it provides a critical springboard for the cultural change necessary in our schools.

But Irwin-Gowran pointed out that further progress remains to be made for for transgender people and for those of no religion in privately funded religious-run institutions.

Nugent accused the Government of :

Voting to betray its own pledge in the Programme for Government to protect atheist and minority faith teachers from religious discrimination.

The commitment in the Programme for Government was: People of non-faith or minority religious backgrounds and publicly identified LGBT people should not be deterred from training or taking up employment as teachers in the State.

Fine Gael and Labour have now formal abandoned that part of the pledge …

The Government has now effectively passed a new ‘equality’ law that protects Catholic LGBT teachers from discrimination, at the expense of reinforcing the right to discriminate against teachers who are atheists or members of minority faiths, and that does not even address the other aspects of religious discrimination in Irish schools.

10 responses to “Ireland moves to protect gays but not atheists in schools”

  1. Newspaniard says:

    So much yadda, yadda. Isn’t it time that Ireland (North & South) joined the 21st Century?

  2. Club Secretary says:

    @Newspaniard says:
    Tue 8 Dec at 11:32 am
    So much yadda, yadda. Isn’t it time that Ireland (North & South) joined the 21st Century?

    What! and miss out the whole of the 20th?

  3. Brummie says:

    90% of Irish schools headed by a criminal organisation; the Vatican.

  4. Vanity Unfair says:

    The Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2013: 2013? They have hardly been hurrying on this one.
    The Bill (s11 (b)) refers to “that employee’s, or prospective employee’s, gender,civil status, family status, sexual orientation, age, disability, race or
    membership of the Traveller community”
    so does include LGBT but possibly not I. Although this might be read in and, like too many modern writings, has confused sex and gender. I know this looks like quibbling but a court will have to decide on this eventually and the less time and money spent on argument, the better will be the judgment.
    Incidentally, I’m waiting for the discovery of ex- or even extra-sexuals as victims of discrimination but only because I can then make an anagram of GIBLET.
    Development: too long. Punch-line: too weak.

  5. L.Long says:

    And the ruling means NOTHING!!!
    I can get rid of any person I choose for any reason, All I do is invent some thing and then fire their butts.
    i.e. I was released from a job, and the reason??? I used the word ‘fuck’ too much! Now how much is too much?? I never used it against another person but against my own clumsiness! So why was I let go? Not really for that reason!!!! And who knows the real reason?!?! So it is easy to fire gay people or even atheists, just invent something!

  6. Cali Ron says:

    In California we have “at will” employment which means an employer can “let you go” at any time and don’t have to state a reason at all, it was at their will. In reality they usually say “you don’t fit into our business needs anymore” or something generic like that, so theirs always cover if you want to get rid of someone for a protected reason like gender, sexual orientation or age.

    Intolerance is alive and well all around the world. Haters just keep hating!

  7. Stuart H. says:

    How would this equality bill work in practice? Seems purely cosmetic to me.
    On their track record, I can’t imagine how any openly gay teacher could get a job in an Irish Catholic school anyway. They would always be passed over at the interview stage for another candidate – and given the number of Irish out-of-work teachers there would be stacks of them.
    The only teachers I can see it could apply to would be ones who’ve hidden their sexuality from the school since getting the job, and who would then face the possibility of being fired for ‘dishonesty’ at interview if they see the legislation as a green light to come out.

  8. Graham says:

    Yes, well, the Irish Republic isn’t quite there yet. It still has some way to go.

  9. Dennis says:

    Good luck Ireland. Why, why so hateful people.