The daily Dáil prayer “sends a bad signal” by promoting a religious outlook that many Irish citizens are totally opposed to, according to far-left TD, Richard Boyd Barrett.
Every Dáil session begins with a short prayer, in English and as Gaeilge, before deputies take part in a 20-second moment of reflection. This happens in other parliaments as well, including in America.
In a tweet on May 10, Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said that rather than being a trivial matter, the issue “goes to the heart of what a Republic is”.
Speaking on Newstalk, Dún Laoghaire TD Richard Boyd Barrett said religion is a private matter that has no place in Dáil Éireann.
“It sends a bad signal, to my mind, that at the beginning of the day, when we are discussing the welfare of all of our citizens and the services and representation we have to deliver that we are giving pre-eminence to a particular religious outlook – often when that outlook would be at variance with the views, feelings and beliefs of many of our citizens,” he said.
“Right across the board we need a complete separation of Church and State so that religious views or the lack of them is a private matter. The institutions of the State or democracy and indeed the State agencies that deal with health, education, welfare and housing should be completely separate from any particular religious outlook on things.”