Public meeting to call for a wider separation of church and state

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A public meeting to discuss a more thorough separation of church and state will be held in the city this week by People Before Profit.

PBP are holding the meeting at Áras na Gael on Dominick Street this Thursday, August 30 at 7:30pm.

They say that the results of the referendum on the 8th amendment show that people in Ireland back being able to make choices about their lives without the interference of the church.

They are calling for the church to be removed from the role it still plays in many Irish schools and hospitals.

Local candidate for PBP Joe Lougnane said, “The Pope’s visit to this country has done nothing to redress the decades of pain, abuse and suffering that people experienced.”

“This was seen in the low numbers attending events supporting his visit, and the high numbers standing in silence at vigils around the country.”

It was predicted before the Pope’s arrival in Ireland last weekend that as many as half a million people might attend the Papal mass in Phoenix Park, but final estimates put crowds at between 150 – 200 thousand.

A silent vigil in Tuam in commemoration of those who died in the Mother and Baby Home there was attended by somewhere in the region of a thousand people.

While several thousand more gathered on the streets of Dublin in a Stand4Truth rally at the Garden of Remembrance.

“People Before Profit stand for a secular state and a secular health and education system. The time for sloganeering is over. The one way to ensure future generations never have to experience such levels of abuse again is by removing schools and hospitals from the control of the Church,” said Mr Loughnane.

The two speakers at this meeting will be Jamie Canavan, a member of Galway Pro-Choice and a PhD candidate with the Irish Research Council who’s researching the history of child welfare in Ireland.

And Kieran Allen, a senior sociology lecture at UCD an author of ‘1916 Ireland’s Revolutionary Tradition’.

One area of the state’s relationship with the church that was singled out for criticism by PBP was the 2002 deal made by the Education Minister Michael Woods with 18 religious orders.

In it the state agreed to indemnify the orders against any further compensation claims if they agreed to pay €128 million in cash and property.

In 2015 it was agreed that the religious orders would pay an additional €226 million, though to date not all of that has been paid over.

The total cost of the Ryan Inquiry in child abuse by the church and the reparations to victims of abuse came to €1.5 billion, with the state and the taxpayer taking most of the cost.