Religious Education Reference Group (RERG)

23 October 2011: Children from families with no religious belief continue to be discriminated against through the compulsory delivery of religious instruction in our schools.

The Humanist Association of Ireland (HAI) has protested about an education reform initiative, the VEC pilot national schools project, over its failure to properly address the plight of families with no religious belief in our education system.

The Board chose to remain on the Religious Education Reference Group (RERG), which oversees the pilot, last year despite its fundamental disagreement with the inclusion of religious instruction as mandated by Mary Hanafin during her tenure as Minister for Education, remaining with the intention of keeping issues important to non-religious parents to the fore.

In a letter to the Chairperson of the Humanists have made it clear that their withdrawal from the RERG at this time follows the misrepresentation of their views on the national schools pilot programme on religious instruction.

The Board also wrote to Án Tánaiste, Mary Coughlan, in November 2010 stating;

“The HAI has been represented on the Religious Education Reference Group for some time and we have made our concerns known. It has been made clear to us that these changes are not possible without reference to your Department.

It seems that the VEC Pilot Schools are taking a backward step in this matter, and a step that seems totally inappropriate for a modern democratic republic in the 21st century.

We would like to meet you to discuss this further and await your early response with a view to setting up this meeting”.

The request was rejected.



Ann James

Humanist Association of Ireland

[email protected]

087 9817861