Religious oaths set to remain a thorny issue for public figures

Row over requirement for president to take oath may have to be settled by a referendum

Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall has taken the action in the European Court of Human Rights along with Sinn Féin TD John Brady, Senator David Norris, former Barnardos chief Fergus Finlay and Prof David McConnell, fellow emeritus in genetics at Trinity College Dublin.  Photograph: Nick Bradshaw for The Irish Times

Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall has taken the action in the European Court of Human Rights along with Sinn Féin TD John Brady, Senator David Norris, former Barnardos chief Fergus Finlay and Prof David McConnell, fellow emeritus in genetics at Trinity College Dublin. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw for The Irish Times

Three months ago, President Michael D Higgins said he believed the religious oath he swore on his inauguration should be removed and replaced with an affirmation.

Mr Higgins’s remarks in a BBC interview turn on a question that is before the European Court of Human Rights in a case against the State by Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall and four other people prominent in public life.

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