Publicly funded Irish National schools integrate “The Saviour” into spelling lessons for ten year olds – Rule 68

Irish public funded National schools, religion is integrated into the state curriculum

In Irish publicly funded National schools, religion is integrated into the state curriculum.

Rule 68 of the Rules for National Schools reads:-

“Of all parts of a school curriculum, Religious Instruction is by far the most important, as its subject matter, God’s honour and service, includes the proper use of all man’s faculties, and affords the most powerful inducements to their proper use. Religious Instruction is, therefore, a fundamental part of the school course, and a religious spirit should inform and vivify the whole work of the school.”

Most parents believe that Rule 68 is about prayers, holy communion and various religious celebrations during the school day. A parent sent us the following example which he discovered on helping his child with her homework.

R68 Saviour Pic


The book is Spellbound 4, ISBN 978-0-7144-1638-0 published by CJ Fallon. The inside cover reads:

“Spellbound, a series of seven books, encourages a multidimensional approach to spelling for children from Senior Infants to Sixth Class, while helping to develop phonological and phonemic awareness.”

St. Patrick managed to find his way into the maths book.


Mathemagic 4 – ISBN 978-0-7144-1443-0 -Published by CJ Fallon

“The Mathemagic Programme has been compiled to support the Revised Mathematics Primary School Curriculum. It promotes sound constructivist principles and approaches in the teaching of primary mathematics, while offering ample opportunities for reinforcement and consolidation.”

As you can see it is impossible to opt out of religion that is integrated into the state curriculum. The UN has already Recommended the removal of Rule 68 and so has the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism.

In July this year the UN Human Rights Committee asked the state the following questions:-

“And going forward, how is the State Party planning to deal with the possibility and the demand for non-denominational education in the future? Is it considering a move away from the integrated curriculum provided by Rule 68 of the Rules for National Schools? Is it considering a significant rise in the number of schools transferred to public hands?”

“My follow-up question goes to the issue of denominational education, and I note the statement on improvements that are planned in the transparency of school admission policies. My two follow up questions in this regard are:
How does the Delegation explain the compatibility with the Covenant of a state of affairs that allows private schools, which have a near monopoly in Ireland on a vital public service, to openly discriminate in admission policies between children on the basis of their parents’ religious convictions?

I would appreciate, whether orally or in writing, the Delegation’s theory on this point, on this legal point. And whether the State believes or not that it is required to ensure a neutral studying environment in those schools, in denominational schools, outside the confines of religious instruction classes that can be opted out from?”


  1. Avatar
    Breandán Mac Séarraigh September 26, 2014

    See ‘Timpeall an Domhain – leabhar oibre rang a cúig’. Chapter 1 is about Naomh Breandán, which is probably fair enough, he was an ancient Irish explorer. Chapter five is ‘An Domhan sa Spás’. It shows various constellations. The very first one shown is ‘An Chros’ -the southern cross. No Irish child is going to see that one, short of going to Australia (on whose flag it appears). Looks like the privileging of one particular religion in a science lesson.

  2. Avatar
    Michael January 02, 2015

    I agree its pretty lame. Saviour without an upper case S. Also, it should be “Our” instead of “The”. Did anybody make this complaint to the book company?


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