Separate church and state- Establishment lagging behind public anger
Solidarity- People Before Profit TDs Bríd Smith and Ruth Coppinger have said that they, and their colleagues, will not be standing for the Dáil prayer.
The TDs were speaking at a press conference in advance of today’s Dáil.
People Before Profit TD, Bríd Smith said: “I fully support people practicing their own religion but it is a private matter and should have no impact on the business of the state.
“The Dáil had an opportunity last Thursday to vote to change the sectarian practice of publicly praying before the start of business and failed to address the matter. The church’s role in our lives is increasingly being questioned and the demand for the separation of church and state is seen through from the response to the National Maternity Hospital, the demand for a referendum on Repeal 8th and the outrage at the Tuam Mother and Babies Home scandal.
Last night Galway City Council voted to replace prayer with a minutes reflection.
“Once again it is clear, like on so many issues, the general population are miles ahead of the political establishment.
“We want the church out of our schools, out of our hospitals, out of our lives and we need to repeal the 8th amendment.”
Ruth Coppinger TD stated: “This new procedure is turning the clock backwards. The Government and the main parties are willing to impose a prayer in the national parliament against the strong desire of people for a separation of Church and State.”
“There is a major shift in people’s religious views in this country with a rapid growth in the number of people with no religion in the past 5 years, and a growth in minority religions. The State should be secular and defend all people’s religious freedoms by being neutral on issues such as prayer.
“In Ireland we’ve a political establishment that are happy to hand over the National Maternity Hospital to a religious order placing women’s health in jeopardy. They are happy to have schools dominated by religion where young people’s rights are ignored.
“This latest move just further proves that the establishment parties are a block to social progress and if we want real change it will take a left movement which reflects the growing aspirations of people for a secular, socially progressive Ireland where abortion rights are legislated for.
Solidarity TD’s will not comply with this new Standing Order and will remain seated.”