The Iona Blog

Classroom indiscipline: the family factor

The topic of disruptive classroom behaviour by pupils raised its head again this year at the annual Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) conference. According to TUI general secretary Peter McMenamin, the recession and educational cutbacks have made the problem worse. “Most social problems manifest themselves initially in the classroom. Teachers have said that the predicament...

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Why didn’t Prime Time talk to the parents?

Last night (April 9) Prime Time ran an item on how religion is being taught in a new type of State-run, inter-denominational primary school. The report was heavily weighted against the practice of teaching the various faith groups separately during class time. For example, Labour’s Ruairi Quinn, who was critical of the practice, was given...

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INTO seeks to undermine religious freedom

The Deputy General Secretary of the INTO, Noel Ward, has called for Section 37 of the Employment Equality Act to be consigned to history, because it ‘legislates for discrimination’. At the INTO annual congress yesterday, Mr Ward, INTO deputy general-secretary referring to an article written by a representative of the Iona Institute, asked how a...

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Sensible change to Civil Partnership Bill

Unfortunately the Government still stubbornly refuses to make any provision for freedom of conscience in the Civil Partnership Bill. However, it has sensibly relented a little on the provisions related to cohabiting heterosexual couples. One of those provisions would force cohabiting couples into a legal relationship after three years together, two if they have a...

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Mar 31 2010 Is it all in the mind?

Every now and then a neuroscientist pops us to tell us religion is all in the mind because he has tracked down the part of the brain that ‘controls’ and accounts for religion. Fire up this part of the brain and next thing you know, you’re getting ‘mystical’ experiences. Turn it off and you’re as...

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Dermot Ahern’s confusing stance on Civil Partnerships

The Government’s Civil Partnership Bill began the process of going through committee earlier this week. Sadly, no amendments on religious freedom were tabled, much less debated. Instead, we had amendments from both Fine Gael Justice spokesperson Charlie Flanagan and Labour Justice spokesperson Brendan Howlin, asking that Civil Partnership be made even more like marriage. Deputy...

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Few women want to work full-time, all the time

I attended a seminar in Barcelona the other week at which one of the most fascinating papers was delivered by Catherine Hakim from the sociology department at the London School of Economics. It was titled ‘What do women really want? Designing family policies for all women’. Hakim is a long-standing critic of policies designed to...

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Only a partial victory for religious freedom

Today’s news that a Catholic adoption agency in the UK has been allowed to continue to refuse to place children with same-sex couples because of a legal loophole is good news for other similar agencies in the UK, who will now hopefully be able to continue to provide their services to the community. Is it...

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Faith and politics can and should mix, says Archbishop

Last July, Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern, in response to a sermon criticising his Civil Partnership legislation, said when he legislated, he didn’t “bring whatever religion I have to the table”. Earlier this month, Archbishop Charles Chaput, of Denver, addressed this topic before the Houston Baptist University. Specifically, he tackled one of the most noteworthy...

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Persecute me – I’m after the brownie points

Comedian, Frank Skinner has a piece in The Times today saying he wants Christians to be persecuted – he’s a weekly Mass-goer himself – because he reckons Christians thrive when’re they’re a persecuted and despised minority. He’s referring to the growing number of legal actions being taken against Christians in the UK, from nurses being suspended...

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