The right of people to practice their religion freely without interference or repression from the State is an important right in any democracy, and equally no religion should have a privileged position in the State or inform government policy and legislation.
Unlike many other European countries there has never been a formal separation of church and State in Ireland, but following numerous controversies involving the Roman Catholic church here, culminating in the recent debates on church patronage of schools and the reaction to plans to allow the Sisters of Mercy to own the new National Maternity Hospital, has seen the emergence of public demands for such a formal separation.
A public meeting to discuss church/State separation in Ireland will take place on Wednesday June 14 at 8pm in The Western Hotel, Prospect Hill. Entitled, Time to Separate Church and State’, it will hear contributions from guest speakers Dr Eoin Daly, NUI Galway College of Business, Public Policy and Law, School of Law who specialises in constitutional law, law and religion, and the separation of Church and State; Yvonne Ahearne, a pro-choice activist in Galway; and People Before Profit's Brian O’Boyle, formerly the economic programme director at St Angela's College, NUIG .
The speakers will discuss the historical and legal interrelationship of the State with the Catholic Church, the changes in Irish society that are challenging that link, and how a full separation of Church and State throughout the State, the Constitution, and the law can be achieved.
The chair will be Galway People Before Profit representative Joseph Loughnane. There will be an audience Q&A afterwards. Admission is free and all are welcome.