THE Government has been urged to reopen the Irish embassy in The Vatican. Supporting a call from Limerick Council to reverse the Department of Foreign Affairs decision, Cllr Billy Clancy told North Tipperary County Councillors at their March meeting: “I can’t see how Vietnam is more important that The Vatican. We probably wouldn’t have a school or a hospital without the religious.”
He was supported by Cllr Michael Smith, who declared closing the embassy was a “huge mistake”.
The motion was also backed by Cllr Pauline Coonan.
Earlier, during a discussion on the threat to rural schools from cutbacks, Cllr Seamus Hanafin pointed out that Education Minister Ruairi Quinn had made it known that he was an atheist.
“You have to acknowledge the huge role the religious played in our education system,” he said.
And Cllr John Hogan claimed the Minister wanted our schools to be “a-religious. In England there are huge queues trying to get into religious schools because of their Christian ethos and belief. It will be a retrograde step to remove religion from our schools. It’s not broken. I have serious concerns about trying to remove it.”
Cllr John Carroll described the removal of religion from schools as “offensive”.
However Labour’s Cllr Virginia O’Dowd attempted to put their minds at rest by saying that “our education is well embedded in our communities”.