New Irish ‘feel pressure’ to allow children be instructed in Catholic faith at schools

Children of atheists and of minority faiths are discriminated against’, says Evangelical Alliance Ireland official

System of denominationally controlled education in Ireland is ‘fundamentally unjust’

Many immigrants feel pressured to allow their children to be taught in Catholic schools to ensure that they later successfully apply to become Irish citizens, whatever their own beliefs, it has been declared.

Some immigrant evangelical Christians let their children receive Holy Communion to help "stay in the country", said Pastor Nick Park, executive director at Evangelical Alliance Ireland,

In applying for citizenship, they have “to produce evidence that they are integrating well into Irish society, which can include a letter from schools their children attend,” he said.

‘Religion classes’

They were “scared” that if their children “didn’t participate in religion classes at school, they wouldn’t be deemed right to stay in the country,” he told a meeting favouring the separation of Church and State.

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Describing himself as “a Christian secularist”, the evangelical pastor said the current system of denominationally controlled education in Ireland is “fundamentally unjust”.

Imam Ibrahim Noonan, of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Ireland said religions should not be imposed on a child.

“When children come to school they should be there simply to have an education.”

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times