Ask A Broadsheet Reader



A billboard campaign launched today by The Humanist Association of Ireland

Look at the happy scripture-free head on her.

‘Human’ Ger writes:

Can I ask your readers one question: Do you believe all Irish children should have an equal right to education? Please answer here [and elaborate if possible below] …

Blummin’ unbrainwashed, dungaree-wearing heathens.


The Humanist Association of Ireland


165 thoughts on “Ask A Broadsheet Reader

  1. Derval

    Do you believe all Irish children should have an equal right to education?
    If one of their parents has brown hair, they shouldn’t be allowed to learn Geography.

  2. elsie

    The census in Ireland gives an inaccurate account of how many Catholics there are in Ireland.
    People tick Roman Catholic to denote that they had been baptized, however this gives a massively inaccurate statistic for those who are currently practicing. I think the stats would be massively different and way more accurate if the question was worded properly on the census. Many many people were baptised into Catholicism but now as adults do not feel part of the church/ are now atheist, agnostic, humanist in their beliefs and yet on the Census these people often tick the RC box.

    Until the stats are accurate and people stop baptizing their kids for the sake of school entry and having holy communions for a day out, things will not break free from the influence of the church and things will not progress in this country.

      1. Mark Dennehy

        Kindof does. Schools are run by the religious orders (and if you think they have no influence, ask about gay Irish teachers sometime), and they defend that position on the grounds (amongst others) that there are lots of RCC people in Ireiand.

        1. newsjustin

          Most schools are run by parishes via boards of management, not by religious orders. And they tend to defend their position by explaining that they were established to provide education to their parish community.

          1. AlisonT

            The problem is that most times parents in a school are asked who they want as school patrons they request to stay with the church. The government has been consistently unable to find enough schools where the parents are willing to remove the church as patrons. Bloody Democracy!!!

      2. Mike

        They give the church the “mandate” to continue ramming their crap down people’s throats unwanted

      1. rotide

        Grown adults doing this annoys me.

        Do you spend the requisite time in meditation as the Jedi require? Do you do ANYTHING that singles you out as a Jedi trying to keep the peace in a disordered universe?

        Or do you just think its cool to pretend to be a space wizard on an official form?

        Dudeism would be better.

        1. ReproBertie

          The Jedi are scum. They have no problem with slavery and happily buy slaves. They use mind control to get their way. They execute on a whim and justify it with claims of “Jedi business”.

    1. Mark Dennehy

      Worse, if you were baptised as an infant, you can’t get out of the RCC’s statistics. There isn’t any way to leave the RCC anymore (they changed canon law to get rid of the act of defection in 2009), so even if you’re a practicing atheist, they still count you as a catholic.

      So when the RCC claims to be an enormous religion, you have to wonder about their statistics…

      1. Papi

        The bishop of Oslo recently got taken in by the fraud squad for taking peoples names out the phone book and registering them as Catholic, received millions in state aid. Shower of chancers.

        1. Too big for my boots

          I love the image this conjures up of an elderly man wearing a mitre sitting at his computer inputting data from a phone book. Crozier leaning up against the wall.

        1. Clive Northwood

          I never quite understood the need to sign-out of the Catholic Church, as many did online a few years back. I’m still in the church’s books as a Catholic, but since I’m not Catholic, or religious in any other way, to me that’s just a bunch of lads with a list of names. It has no meaning to me. With the census, I mark myself as non-religious. Would it make any difference if I had “defected”, removing my name from the church records, aside from being a symbolic gesture?

          1. jeremy kyle

            Well, I would say them being able to point to the list of names and say “this is how many people we represent” impacts on their influence on governments.

          2. Clive Northwood

            I hear ye, but I’ve only ever heard of them waving the census numbers about in that way. Does the Church actual point to baptismal records to try to impact government opinion?

    2. rotide

      People need to take responsibility instead of blaming the census. It’s a big enough document without having to give over walls of text trying to be overly sensitive.

      That section is pretty straightforward. I was baptised as a catholic, I am an atheist. I put down Atheist on the form. Mammy isn’t looking over my shoulder anymore. One can only assume the people who mark down RC as their religion actually see themselves as catholics, even if they don’t practice as much as they should.

      1. newsjustin

        “……..even if they don’t practice as much as some whinging atheists insist that they should in order to tick the box.”

      2. rotide

        That was badly worded, they can practice as much as they like. If they feel they’re a catholic then tick the box, if not then tick No Religion.

        Or if they are Jimmy, Tick ‘Harry Potter’ or ‘Jedi’

    3. Bingo

      I was at my parents house on the night of the census & my Dad put me down as a Catholic.
      I was raging!
      Wish I stayed up in Dublin that weekend.

  3. john

    My mates just baptized their child for this very reason. Its shocking to think you have to PRETEND you are of a Catholic persuasion to get your child access to education. Talk about doctoring the stats!

    1. Spaghetti Hoop

      People pretend to be of a catholic persuasion in order to marry in a catholic church. Not really that shocking. People will make up any oul twaddle to get what they want.

      1. ABM

        You mean Irish people want all the benefits provided by the Catholic church, yet are unwilling to support the church (publicly, professionally and privately). Nor are they willing to pay for it and instead take for granted the donations made by those who are long dead. The Irish Times’s Trojan efforts at making Catholicism unfashionable (except for hatches, matches, dispatches) among the chattering classes appears to be working.

        I’m surprised the nice little girl photographed (I presume the photo ethics check out?) isn’t with pictured holding hands with her two daddies who like the smell of each others bums.

  4. Mloc

    I am not sure how true this is. I have friends who did not baptise their children and don’t intend to either, feedback is that schools do not discriminate…

    1. Stewart Curry

      Schools with a catholic ethos prioritise entry based on family ties, religion, age and location. Catholic kids are first, then children of similar religions, then bottom of the heap are the unbaptised sinners doomed to hell.

      1. Frilly Keane

        No they don’t Stuart.

        Belvo is a supervised lottery
        Loretto SG is strictly waiting list post siblings, staff, past pubils and nieces of Loretto nuns.

        The Micky Marbh Colistes are waiting list post siblings in the catchment only.

        In LSG, All parents are informed pre offer of the ethos and are implored not to proceed with the offer is they will have difficulty with the schools religious devotions.

        The student’s previous faith has eff all to do with securing a place

        ( BTW I could list off a dozen or so more Catholic Schools if I was arsed)

          1. Frilly Keane

            Maybe. So here’s anudder generalisation.

            Parents and students, be they observing Atheism, Humanism, Catholicism, Herbalism, Judaism, Cannibalism, Nudism, Mysticism, or whatever the ûck Breda is at;

            If they get offers from Muckross, Belvo, LSG, Regina Mundi, the MickyMarbh Colistes, Munchins, fill in the rest yerselves….
            They don’t say no.

    2. newsjustin

      They do – where there is pressure for places. In most places in Ireland, there is not pressure for places. Many country schools are desperate for kids.

      Where there is pressure for places (in some city schools and suburbs), schools have to make a tough call – do we exclude the children we were established to teach, or exclude those whose parents don’t share the religious beliefs of the school and school community. Tough call.

      1. Mark Dennehy

        Yup, tough call indeed. It affects the life of the child enormously.

          1. newsjustin

            Mark, we all pay our taxes for a range of different things we might like done differently. And @Don – my terse response was brought on by Mark’s language, given my comment was quite benign.

          2. Mark Dennehy

            Oh dear, yes, your language was sooooo benign.
            I mean, you were being very very civil when discussing how belief in an imaginary friend could be used as a decision making basis for something that could seriously impact on a child’s life. How could anyone take offence at that?

          3. newsjustin

            I find people who use the phrase “imaginary friend” when it comes to religion are on a hair-trigger for taking offence in these matters.

          4. Mark Dennehy

            newsjustin, if your $DEITY isn’t an imaginary friend, that’s cool. We’d like to meet him/her/it/them, in corporeal form, for enlightening discussion. Where and when and what scientific laboratory shall we use for the traditional vivisection?

            Oh, I’m sorry, he’s an incorporeal supernatural Caucasian male human figure you say? How very similar to what we normally call an “imaginary friend” when toddlers dream them up. And he responds to your half of the conversation you say?

            Have you considered Solian?

          5. Mark Dennehy

            And you think having some looper in a cassock decide things about your child’s education on the basis that a ghost told him so is pleasant, do you?

            Like I said. Solian. It’ll cure that religion right outta ya.

        1. Jack Ascinine

          I had this very discussion with the board of a school I sit on last night. Even the priest said it was a very tough and undesireable decision to have to make. No one wants to tell a 5 yr old that they can’t go to school, no matter what religion. But, when you have people queuing for places, there has to be some criteria. And being a school that was founded by the Catholic church, the criteria will always focus around those that subscribe to the ethos, whether they actually do or not.

          For instance, if a child lives within the parish and needs a place in school but isn’t Catholic, they get put further down the list. If a child who lives outside of the parish applies for a place in the school and is Catholic, they will get accepted first. Its a travesty all around but that’s the way it is when the church are the founders of the school.

          The solution is for the State to stop pissing around and put together a real education program that the State pays for, in full, to run schools, and religious schools become optional. Right now they are not optional because the State cannot afford to run an education program. Until religion is completely eradicated out of all schools and the focus is on learning, and religion takes place at mass, this country will not see any progress in this area.

          At present, my kid’s school cannot run itself on the funds that it receives from the State or the church. If fundraisers were not held throughout the year there would be a shortfall of thousands. Frankly, everybody from the kids, to the parents, to the principals are getting screwed by the education system and it isn’t fair on anyone.

          1. Mark Dennehy

            “It’s a horrible system, we’re all being badly affected, the catholics are just badly effecting us the way their religion tells them to so it’s not that bad really”.

            Er, no. You want to run a catholic school and discriminate on entry according to your religious ethos, go for it. Free country. Wouldn’t want to stop you (because the precedent would bite me in the backside down the line).

            But you never, ever, get even one euro of state funding. You want that money? You adhere to certain standards, and one of them is that you don’t discriminate on race, creed, gender or colour.

            If we can use that guideline to cover daft things like gender discrimination in golf club bars, why can’t we use it for important things?

          2. Jack Ascinine

            Well Mark, I hope you weren’t replying to me because (1 I’m not Catholic but my wife and kids are and (2 I chose to be on the board so at least I have some idea of what’s going on in the place and have some voice. Do you sit on the board of a school that’s in the middle of an impossible situation?

          3. Mark Dennehy

            “Why are you being mean? Can’t you see I have to be a part of the system that enforces an unethical system because otherwise someone else would?”

            Jack, you’re part of the problem. You won’t like hearing that, but that’s reality for you.

            In other news, you are on the other side of a line from my son’s best interests so if you think I’m going to agree with your “impossible position”, you’re going to be waiting a while.

          4. Jack Ascinine

            Well Mark, you are so far off the mark that it doesn’t even register. I was brought up in the US, in Texas no less, where church and state supposedly don’t mix. To call me part of the problem is absurd. I don’t want my kids being forced into a religious based school, but what are the options? Pay exorbitant rates for Kings Cross? Start my own private non-religious school in my area? Stay home and teach them myself? You’d want to study your educational system options as well as your gun laws.

          5. AmeliaBedelia

            Jack, the church does not fund any part of the national school system, it is paid for in full by the state and as you pointed out, voluntary contributions from parents. This is a non-issue when it comes to patronage and religious ethos in schools. I agree, the state needs to stop pissing around and take full control of management and curricula and finally we might have a public school system that is based on inclusion with faith and faith formation the task of parents and their church leaders not teachers and schools.

          6. Jack Ascinine

            Well Amelia, I can tell you that you are wrong and I can tell you that with authority. I sit on the board and I review the financials. If the school gets into financial difficulty they can apply for a bail out from the parish church, call it what you will. They have the ability to take funds from the church if required. But, the church being the church, prefer all funds to come from the state. This the paradox of them being able to dictate what kind of student they take vs what money is put into it.

          7. Mark Dennehy

            (a) Texas. The Land Of Teaching The Controversy, mainly because evangelicals spent a lot of the last few decades getting people onto school boards there. You’re illustrating my point, not refuting it.

            (b) You’re taking the same position as the Greens in government with FF and Labour in government with FG (ie. If I just go along with this a bit, I can stop the worst of it). It doesn’t work, and you’re part of the problem.

      2. Stewart Curry

        There is pressure for places in schools, because there has been and increase in the number children entering primary education. That is why new schools are being opened.

    3. Rob

      Get onside dude, this is a bandwagon! Now you are either on it or you are a rightwing, racist, homophobic, priest lovin’, kiddie fiddling water charges paying, Fine Gaeler!
      Which is it?

    4. ahyeah

      My own experience is that it’s easy enough to get a pagan non-believer (my own daughter) into a RC primary school. That’s no the end of it, though. She still gets bombarded with all the nonsense that goes with it: saying prayers first thing in the morning, at noon, before lunch and before going home; gets told to learn prayers off by heart; is obliged to participate in all sorts of weird BS (such as standing in front of a grotto in the middle of winter reciting some nonsense off for an hour at a time). And, I’ve heard, when they hit first class, all they do from january on is preparation for the communion. Unfair and wrong, in my opinion.

        1. ahyeah

          Not when what they’re doing is unreasonable.

          It’s a state school funded by taxpayer’s money. It shouldn’t be excluding anyone – implicitly or explicitly. And it certainly shouldn’t be promoting very contentious dogma to any child who’s parent hasn’t explicitly consented. Anyone can do whatever they want – so long as it doesn’t interfere with someone else’s rights. And this does.

          And, anyway, it’s not just me. I’d bet the majority of parents in every school in the country would prefer this sh!te be propogated outside of school hours.

          1. newsjustin

            It’s not a state school.

            Sorry. My response was too simplistic. Non-catholic children can and should be catered for in catholic schools in so far as possible.

    5. Lorcan Nagle

      A friend of mine had to get her daughter baptised to get her into St Louis in Rathmines.

        1. Lorcan Nagle

          You can choose to frame her experience whatever way you want to, it doesn’t change what happened.

  5. Drogg

    We where told that they where building an educate together school in my area but they keep denying the permission so they can’t start the work and now we have kids stuck in prefabs nearly 4 years on, its not good enough. Unless you are part of the holy joe set sorting education is a massive hassle.

        1. newsjustin

          I was wondering if it was a local planning issue (you said they were building) or a Dept of Education issue.

          1. Drogg

            Dept of Ed announced the school started to take places put kids in prefabs then keep getting denyed PP from the planning authority hitting September this will be going on 4 years but in that time there was an all girls catholic school planned and built and is now in operation. Its nothing more then i just think that the church run schools are given a lot more good faith when it comes to planning and building.

          2. newsjustin

            That’s a big claim Drogg. Planning applications should be made on planning issues alone. Anyone can appeal to An Bord Pleanala – and to the High Court if they think due process hasn’t been followed.

          3. Drogg

            I am not saying it hasn’t been followed and I am sure the school will eventually be built but I never see these issues rising with the building of Catholic schools maybe they just have jesus on their side when it comes to PP but it’s strange that the dept can’t get their finger out when places are needed badly.

  6. andyourpointiswhatexactly

    Riddle me this. Can you get your kids baptised as Church of Ireland if you’re “Catholic” (ie lapsed and no interest in it)? I like the Anglican church: they seem like nice people.

      1. andyourpointiswhatexactly

        I say s-gone instead of sc-own. I like making preserves. I was born for it, really.
        Thanks, newsjustin. Good to know.

          1. andyourpointiswhatexactly

            Oh, I meant preservatifs. I make rubber johnnies for people who live in Condom.

      2. ahyeah

        The clincher, apparently, is where do you keep the butter? In the fridge? Be gone, you fenian.

  7. Blublu

    It infuriates me far more that I have to pay for non-secular schools than having to pay for water.

  8. Spaghetti Hoop

    Have friends who became humanists just before their wedding and then baptised their kids as catholics. Didn’t make any difference to their schooling as the kids go to a multi-D. Tried to take them out of partaking in communion but the kids wanted to do it.

    How are the non-catholic kids being discriminated against? Or is this the Humanists mobilising?

  9. Fluter Bad

    Bet their parents have no issue celebrating that great Irish feast of hypocrisy; Christmas.

      1. ahyeah

        It’s all a la carte.
        I learned that early (around the time a priest visiting my school spunked into my sandwich, and said, ‘now take that home and give it to your daddy’. Even though I was only 6 or 7, it struck me as a very unchristian gesture).

    1. Ms Piggy

      As an atheist I celebrate Christmas as a winter festival of food, light and warmth. I have a tree, and tinsel and presents, but no nativity scenes or religious images. Works just fine. People have been appropriating and adapting cultural forms for centuries – just ask the Church where they got Christmas from in the first place. Doesn’t mean that my taxes should be used to support schools which discriminate based on religious background.

      1. rotide

        Celebrates a festival with a long history of appropriating symbols by not appropriating any symbols.

    2. Mark Dennehy

      Which part of Christmas Fluter? Nothing about that time of year has anything to do with christianity. The gift-giving is a Saturnalia thing, the tree is a Germanic pagan ritual, as is the Yule Log, the actual birthdate of ben Yosef has been put anywhere from August to October but never in December by anyone who studied it (as opposed to reading about it in a book), and every historian out there pretty much agrees the whole thing was just absorbed by the church as a marketing ploy. Even the films aren’t christian (oh please, someone actually watch Its a wonderful life sometime and tell me about how Christianity embraces suicide and a total lack of justice).

      So you know what? Sod off with your Christmas. I’ll have a party at solstice, thanks, and I’ll meet up with my family on the 25th because that’s their thing, but Christmas can go bleep itself with the decorative pineapple. It’s a party and we’re gonna pagan it up. And the next person that says I’m a grinch is getting a lecture on how a Christian festival shouldn’t be embracing genocide like that (what, you never wondered why there’s only one grinch?)

      The bit where we go out, get drunk, get laid, and have fun? That’s the solstice and we’ve had a nice big party on the solstice since before we had *spoken language*. It’s how humans celebrate the fact that the days aren’t getting shorter which means we’ve passed the midpoint of winter and spring and food is on the way and we won’t all die in the dark and cold at the back of the cave. *That* is the true meaning of xmas and it’s a damn sight more fun than this “peace, love and goodwill to all men for the next 24 hours (except, y’know, the gays)” marketing PR nonsense…

      1. newsjustin

        You’re totally right on the many cultural bits the Christian celebration of Christmas (clues in the name Mark) has attracted. It’s all part of the fun. One thing that amuses me is people (not you Mark) who tell us that Christmas has all these pagan roots and Christianity just acquired the best of them to mark the birth of Jesus – as if Christians aren’t aware and happy to recognise it. They need to read some of Pope Benedict XVI’s writings on the Christian calander and the reason why dates for e.g. Christmas, Easter, St John the Baptist’s feast day, etc were chosen.

        But as I say Mark, the clues in the name. The reason the culturally Christian world celebrated Christmas with such gusto is because it’s Christmas – the feast celebrating the birth of Jesus. Individual approaches may vary, but that’s the reason.

        1. Mark Dennehy

          The reason the culturally Christian world celebrates Christmas newsjustin, is the Roman Empire. It adopted the religion, it’s the reason why the phrase “culturally christian world” doesn’t refer to five square miles in the middle east, and they’re where the support for the party on the 25th came from, as they already had a rather large one going on at the time and people *hate* giving up regular parties, even by decree of the Emperor. Without that, we’d all be partying a week earlier like the rest of humanity throughout the ages.

          I mean, if you’re gonna tell us about historical origins of modern culture, you could at least remember what the Romans did for us other than better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order…

          1. newsjustin

            The scope of the Christian world, and how it got that big (the Romans never made it to America) is not really the point.

          2. Mark Dennehy

            The Romans didn’t make it to America, but the remnants of the Roman Empire certainly did. You just called them Spain, Portugal, France and England at the time instead of Hispania, Gaul and Britannia…

            And the scope isn’t the point, which is why it wasn’t listed as the point. The point was that:

            they’re where the support for the party on the 25th came from, as they already had a rather large one going on at the time

    3. gertrude

      are us pagans still allowed bury and intern people or do we have to sign up for that as well as for the solstice yoke? i get that there can’t be any morality absent of christianity, shur didn’t the romans invent morality.

  10. Tarfton Clax

    Christmas was stolen from the Pagans! It predates the Nazarene and all those monotheistic blow-ins.

  11. Jane

    You know, I think the situation is absolutely wrong and I am an athiest. However, I cannot bring myself to text in support of any campaign that might lend any credibility to any athiest organisation, the bunch of utter mysognists.

      1. Jane

        I suppose not everyone is aware of the problem of harrassment and assault of women in the athiest, skeptic and humanist communities, but there’s a wealth of information available with the harrassers and assaulters being defended by some notable atheiest activists in Ireland.

        1. andyourpointiswhatexactly

          That’s quite a condescending answe to a genuine question. Obviously I wasn’t aware if I asked about it.
          Thanks, I guess.

    1. Don Pidgeoni

      Mmm good point Jane. Though I think humanists are different to atheists/Dawkins admirers

      1. Jane

        Well possibly I may be being unfair – they may be completely different. But I don’t want to live in a country where either set of men’s gangs – Catholics or athiests – are in charge.

          1. rotide

            Considering we are talking about Ireland, I’m wondering who exactly you think should be in charge if not catholics or atheists?

            I’m begining to think that my definition of athiest is either incorrect or has become coopted by the right on looney left though.

          2. rotide

            Oh, I see now. You’ve hijacked the religious rant and turned it into a wimmins rant.

            Women should be in charge, not men.

            Gotcha, continue.

      1. Ciarán

        I’d say you’ll be waiting a fair while for that. Put on a kettle. And tomorrow’s kettle too.

  12. Frilly Keane

    Where are they getting the “Most Irish Schools” from?

    Other than that Dutch buck up in Leitrim kicking sum’ting off around here a while back, I’ve never heard of much else that wasn’t hearsay stuff.

    “Most” suggests 100s
    So its who as much as an’ting else

    1. Stewart Curry

      By discriminate they mean that non-baptised children are placed further down the list for entry. Once the baptised kids get places, then the non-baptised kids get places (if there are any left). This is the case for schools with a catholic ethos. There is a shortage of school places (despite what newsjustin says above) which is why more schools are being built.

    2. ahyeah

      It’s “most” because most schools in Ireland adhere to RC ethos. And it’s way, way, way most. Like 95% most.

      1. newsjustin

        But most schools don’t exclude anyone. Most schools are desperate to keep numbers up (class sizes is an entirely different, though related argument though).

        1. Mark Dennehy

          “We’re not excluding you, it’s just that we put you at the bottom of the list and these other people got in before you and now I’m afraid we have no more places left. Please leave your state tax funding for the school in the usual account.”

          1. newsjustin

            Like I say, most schools take all comers. It’s only when numbers are tight that schools have to decide – do we take kids who we’re tasked with educating or do we take kids who have no link with our parish community. Like I say, it’s a tough call, and I meant it.

          1. Mark Dennehy


            Page 5, Item 23:

            The Equal Status Act 2000 [Section 7-3(c)] legally entitles discrimination in pupil entry to uphold their particular religious ethos.

            And just keep reading really after that point. There’s all manner of bright fun things, like how the public education curriculum includes mandatory time for religious instruction despite the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights saying that was a terrible idea when there aren’t any non-discriminatory exemptions or alternatives. In other words, telling someone’s kid to go sit out in the hall for 30 minutes while everyone else does RI is not a humane way to treat any child and we shouldn’t do it…

  13. Clo

    This is a badly thought through poster. I do believe that in a few cases, non-Catholic children are disallowed from attending ‘Catholic’ schools. However, as a parent with a non-Catholic child in a Catholic school (chosen because it is the local school, and the nearest Educate Together is 14 miles away and logistically impossible with work etc, and of course no public transport to it) I find that there was no problem with getting in there, but that the discrimination lies in the fact that my child is regularly made to feel uncomfortable for not being a Catholic (eg publicly excluded from receiving ashes on Ash Wednesday), not to mention the compulsory 30 mins a day of ‘Catholic lite’ religious education.

    1. Spaghetti Hoop

      It’s a badly thought out campaign.
      As Frilly mentions above, why use such a suspect word as ‘most’ without any figures to back it up?
      Also, baptism is a christian tradition, not solely catholic.
      And the humanists want you to pay 15 cent to support them.

      There are clearly valid concerns , as I read on their page, but that poster is all wrong.

    2. newsjustin

      Some people would be upset if their non-Catholic child WAS given ashes on Ash Wednesday. It’s hard for teachers to win in that situation – presumably you asked them to hold off on the religious teaching/practice for your child?

      1. Mark Dennehy

        Or maybe – and this is heresy, I know – they could focus on teaching the children academic subjects in school and religious subjects in church?

        1. Spaghetti Hoop

          Good point. Why do schools have to install faith into kids at all if this goes on already in churches, community halls, mosques etc.? Sure even the humanists must all meet up outside of school.
          Nothing wrong with teaching theology but yes, keep school-time academic with sports and skills.

      2. Clo

        Yes, I realise that, and didn’t mind she didn’t get them, it was just the way the situation was handled. Plus the fact of the teachers going along with a practice that was literally going to mark the saved from the heretics. Plus the fact that the same day I stood in front of a class of 60 trainee teachers, only two of whom had voluntarily gone and got themselves ashes: yet in a few years they’ll be obliging classes of children to wear their ashes.

    3. Parp

      “eg publicly excluded from receiving ashes on Ash Wednesday”

      Why would a non Catholic receive ashes on Ash Wednesday?

  14. Bluebeard

    If any other religion got the hate the Catholics get, this site would be up in arms. See not the speck in the other mans eye, but rather see the log in your own. Bunch of wife swapping hypocrites the lot of ye.

    1. Mark Dennehy

      Did any other religion basically run this country as their own little fiefdom for decades, while doing unspeakable things to children and the vulnerable?

      Because I kinda think they’d be getting equal amounts of hate if they’d engaged in equal amounts of vileness.

      1. Bluebeard

        Revenge you want is it? How Christian of you. Their behaviour does not justify yours. The faux liberal ranting on here is as tyrannical as anything the Catholics taught.

        1. Mark Dennehy

          (a) I’m not Christian.

          (b) I don’t want revenge, I want us to not put our kids and their education in the hands of the same organisation that spent the last few generations doing the things documented in the Ferns Report, the Ryan Report and so on. Especially when it’s our tax money paying for that. That isn’t revenge; it’s common sense.

        2. Bluebeard

          Well you speak in a vengeful manner when you justify the treatment of catholics (mostly people like you and me) by referencing the sins of the priests and bishops. Its all a bit hysterical really. The paedo hunting story suits the atheist agenda. A bit baby and bathwater in my own opinion.

          1. Mark Dennehy

            Vengeful on catholics?

            (a) hating what the RCC did is not hating catholics, it’s hating their religious organisiation. It’s like hating the Nazi party but not hating Germans. Surprisingly close to that actually, given how the RCC and the Nazi party got on, but I digress.

            (b) *not* hating what the RCC did would require you to not hate the rape and beating and general abuse of children from the mundane depraved indifference right out to the horror-story level of medical experimentation on orphans, all of which are documented as having happened in RCC institutions in this country in recent history (as in, during your parent’s lifetimes if not in yours). So if you don’t hate what the RCC did, then you’re not someone I’d trust with puppies in the vicinity of a woodchipper.

            (c) “the atheist agenda” tends to be “feck off and leave us alone you weirdos”. And yes, “leave us alone” extends to “stop taking our taxes to pay for your religious schools while treating our kids like second class citizens”. As agendas go, it’s not exactly the most demanding of things.

          2. Bluebeard

            I accept that you are clarifying the difference between RCC and catholics. Not many do catholics that courtesy.

            What some members, in the highest of positions in the RCC was indeed heinous. Again not a reason to hate the religion or those who follow it. Only a reason to hate those who did those crimes and covered up for them.

            The atheist agenda (by its nature) is to secularise the country and remove religion form all aspects of governance. At least be honest about that. The mild version you present is nothing like the truth.

            The religious gave us our schools and hospitals and much more for a long time. Its too easy to dismiss the whole lot of them for the actions of a few. It would be unacceptable with any other group. Ordinary Catholics and Christians are open game now, and its a shame that some of the “concerns” expressed on here does not extend to them.

          3. Mark Dennehy

            You do know that removing religion from the state is not an atheist idea, right?
            It was the whole point of the Enlightenment, and those guys were mostly devout (by today’s standards at least) christians.

          4. newsjustin

            Bing bing bing bing! Mr Godwin to the comments section please. Mr Godwin to the comments section.

          5. Parp

            “all of which are documented as having happened in RCC institutions in this country in recent history ”

            All of which are documented as having happened in COE/Jewish/Evangelical/US educational/Muslim/sporting institutions globally in recent history.

  15. Ultach

    Solution, send you kid to a gaelscoil. Baptism not needed and the nipper will come out with at least two languages. Plus it really winds up the local cultmaster in black if you don’t support his school.

  16. veritas

    If people want to fund a catholic school they may use any entry criteria they like.Don’t muscle in on the local national school,it is not a parish school it is a public school and the dept of ed should ensure that the name of the school should be the (place name) national school and not be named after the parish patron saint.The local clergy should have no say in choosing the board of management.By the way were you ever asked your religion when paying your taxes

    1. Tommy

      Imagine what they would be like with a pint in one hand and a bag of chips in the other and the last bus long gone ??

  17. Textile Magician

    My family consider ourselves Darwinists. I have 3 children who were no it baptised. All three went to the local parish school as there was no other option. All of them participated in religion as I believed they should make their own choice. I firmly believe you do not have to be a Christian to have Christian morals and I bought up my kids with this ethic. All 3 rejected religion on their own terms. Whilst the class was doing confirmation & first holy communion they were excluded. We didn’t have a problem with this. My boys have Bible names purely because I liked the names. The local Father always referred to my youngest as ‘the Jewish boy’! Didn’t know how to take this until a friend of mine said that what the fupp,they’ve all got Jewish names! So I saw the funny side and threatened my youngest that I’d grow his hair in Hasidic ringlets! You have to see the humour in things and not take everything personally! I don’t think my boys were discriminated against at all except by one ignorant priest. Now at my daughters school – that was a totally different story that I will it go into as I like to think of the positives!

    1. Formerly known as

      I am proud that my kids barely know that religion exists. When I was their age, I had already been exposed to ‘first communion’.

      My kids can become aware of religion at a much later age. They can decide it is complete baloney, then.

      It saddens me that many Irish families don’t have the same opportunity.

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