Second Level students in Ireland are given the opportunity to officially ‘opt-out’ of religion classes, after a circular was issued to schools by the Department of Education on the 19th of February 2018.
Influence on state run primary schools by the Catholic church is clearly represented in research by the School of Education at NUI Galway.
With the numbers of Catholics on the decline it seems Ireland is on the way to facing a secular future, the percentage who identified as Catholic on the census falling from 84.2 percent in 2011 to 78.3 percent in 2016. There has also been a corresponding rise in the number of those with no religion, growing by 73.6 percent. Those with no religion now accounting for 10 percent of the population compared to 6% five years ago.
Teachers and anyone who can look back to their times in second and sixth class know how the First Confession, the First Holy Communion and the Confirmation dominate the classroom with the teachers running round like headless chickens trying to ensure that everything is prepared for the approaching deadline.
Asking if religion is part of the problem of terrorism says Mc Kinley is the wrong way to look at the issue: “I think the question then becomes, if religion is part of a problem and you then have to find what that problem is and it differs in different ways then how can it also be part of the solution.”