06 April 2017

Labour Party spokesperson on Education, Joan Burton has called on the Government to make moves to remove the baptism barrier from our education system following the publication of the 2016 Census.

“Today’s census figures show that nearly 500,000 people say they have no religion – a large increase of 73.4% since the Census in 2011. Figures also show that the number of people of Muslim and Hindu faiths is increasing. The new figures published today show there is a need to expand the numbers of non and multi-denominational schools and to remove the baptism barrier.

“Last June Labour proposed, and the Dáil debated our Bill to amend the Equal Status Act and redress the imbalance between the right to maintain denominational schools and the rights of children to receive a secular education in a State-funded school.

“State-funded schools must be prepared in principle and in practice to accept pupils from other denominations or none, and to provide separate secular and religious instruction.

“We know that Minister Bruton is constantly trying to kick the issue of removing the baptism barrier down the road but now is the time to take action on this archaic system.”

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