Articles on Secular V Religion in Education: Primary & Secondary Schools in Ireland

Issues concerning religion in schools are a regular part of mainstream media coverage. The section of our website catalogues background articles from newspapers, TV, web and other media concerning secular issues and religion in schools in Ireland and around the world. Atheist Ireland campaigns for education where the rights of ALL children and their parents are respected equally. The history of Irish education and its model of school patronage system for primary and secondary schools in Ireland guarantees that only some parents and their children achieve this right. It is impractical in most of Ireland that every community can have a separate school for each religion and for non-religious. In addition the history of Ireland gives us an abject lesson in that dividing our communities and their facilities up along sectarian lines only leads to discrimination and deeper civil problems. We need to remove discrimination and rebuild respect for human rights in our society from the ground up, starting in our schools so that future generations can avoid many of the divisive sectarian and authoritarian problems that had defined Ireland in the twentieth and early twenty first century.

Organisation such as the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission are covering education issues such as discrimination on admissions based on religious (and non-religious) grounds, integration of religious materials into all areas of primary education (as required by Rule 68) as well as exemptions for certain institutions, such as schools, from equal opportunities and freedom from discrimination in employment legislation.

These are only a small subset of the information available from Irish media, but we hope you find this information useful. You can find further information at our sister website

If you have concerns about the education system in Ireland of other information that would be useful for this siteyou can contact Jane Donnelly by email at:


1 Comment

  1. Avatar
    Katy February 28, 2016

    Thanks Jane,this clarifies a lot for me.I have spkoen to my son and he has now decided to continue with classes in religion and to opt out of homework and any study.As a sixteen year old boy he is very sure of what he believes and does not believe but hates any focus on him and feels that because everyone else in his school has to do religion he has to too.For me that is the sorriest part of all this is that he wasn’t asked, as a person with rights he should have been asked if he would like to do religious studies or not.I would love to send a letter to the Headmaster as I feel we are really getting somewhere on lots of issues pertaining to catholicism and the more parents who opt out the more normal it will become and before we know it everyone will understand their rights and more importantly the rights of others.My two boys 16 and 18 have just finished reading Dawkins the god delusion’,they are streets ahead of my husband and I and therein lies our future , with tongue firmly in cheek ‘Praise the Lord’,great to be having this discussion,THANKS.


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