Religion, Education and Religious Education in Irish Schools

  • Áine Hyland
  • Brian BockingEmail author
Part of the Boundaries of Religious Freedom: Regulating Religion in Diverse Societies book series (BOREFRRERE, volume 4)


The character of religious education (RE) in Ireland is intimately linked to the religious patronage (ownership) of most publicly funded schools by religious institutions. Approximately 90 % of schools are run by the Catholic Church. This tradition of religious patronage is increasingly at odds with Ireland’s contemporary multicultural and multireligious society and raises pan-European questions of human rights, especially children’s rights, in the sphere of taxpayer-funded education. The chapter outlines the education system in Ireland (little known outside the republic) and discusses primary and secondary RE as well as current RE teacher education programmes including the innovative “Religions and Global Diversity” undergraduate programme at University College Cork. Progress towards the kind of multireligious RE recommended by the European Council of Ministers has recently slowed. The Irish Government exercises only limited control over what is taught in schools’ RE, and there are still very few teachers properly qualified to deliver education about religions (plural).


Ireland Irish Religion Religious education Europe Human rights Patronage Multicultural Catholic Protestant Jewish Muslim Schools Teachers Inclusion Exclusion 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity College CorkCorkIreland
  2. 2.Study of Religions DepartmentUniversity College CorkCorkIreland

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