Catholics to be Singled Out by Proposal to "Screen" Civil Servants with Regard to "Church Deference"

Country: Ireland

Date of incident: February 1, 2012

A proposal that senior civil servants which are likely to deal with the Catholic Church should be "screened" to ensure they do not show "inappropriate deference" to the church is to be debated at Labour's national conference.

The proposal is contained in an Irish Labour Party report focusing on the Church’s role in national schools across the country, which has been drafted by party activists and adopted by a constituency council in Dublin. The document, which is called ‘Illegal Religious Discrimination in National Schools in Ireland’ makes a number of anti-Catholic proposals: Recommendation 15 in the report, asserts: “All senior officials in state bodies which are likely to have to deal with the Catholic Church should be screened to ensure that they will not show inappropriate deference to the Catholic Church. Those who feel they are ‘Catholic first and Irish second’ should seek promotion in other organs of the State.” The Labour Party conference takes place in NUI Galway in mid-April, and the report, which was adopted last year by the Dublin North-Central constituency council, is expected to be proposed by the Clontarf branch of the party. The proposal will become official party policy if passed, although it would not necessarily become Government policy. In a statement responding to the report, Iona Institute director David Quinn said: "The report's recommendation that senior civil servants should be screened to ensure that do not show 'inappropriate deference to the Catholic Church' is deeply undemocratic and would amount to a witch-hunt against Catholics in that it would single out Catholics from among all other civil servants. "