Local Green Patry Councillor and European election candidate is one of a number of politicians who has signed up to a statement that all citizens should be free to practice their religion to the fullest extent, until the point where they seek to interfere with the rights and freedoms of their fellow citizens.
The Dublin Declaration has been put forward by Ahteist Ireland, who say that politicians need to make their views known on the matter known.
John Hamill of Atheist Ireland told the Democrat that: “The statement is based on the Dublin Declaration, which is available from the Atheist Ireland web site”
The statement lays a number of points surrounding the principle that religion should have no role to play in how a country is run politically.
“We have asked all parties and candidates contesting the forthcoming EU elections to sign our Secular Statement. This short document is based on the core principle that all citizens should be free to practice their religion to the fullest extent, until the point where they seek to interfere with the rights and freedoms of their fellow citizens.
“We have already had some formal responses. Mark Dearey of the Green Party has signed the statement and Luke Ming Flanagan TD has also formally agreed to all of the principles that the document describes.
“Unfortunately, after several meetings with the Labour Party, their organisation has been unable to indicate whether or not there are any parts of the Secular Statement that they have a difficulty with.
“This is particularly disappointing while there is a Labour Minister for Education and teachers can still be sacked in Ireland for being gay or atheist, to protect the religious ethos of schools.
“The Irish children, who are discriminated against by school admission policies because of their parent’s religion, also deserve better.”
“At least Senator Rónán Mullen was able to provide a reason why he refused to sign the statement, which relates to his belief that religious conscientious objections to the civil law should be facilitated.”
“After multiple meetings with Fine Gael, Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil, the formal responses from these parties are anticipated shortly.
“From the events in Rome, our Taoiseach may have reason to contemplate how vincible ignorance fails to mitigate the guilt of those who do not act when they should.”