The Irish government announced on June 28th that under an employment law amendment to be passed shortly, schools will no longer be allowed to fire teachers based on family status or sexual orientation.
The news came on the same day as Dublin’s biggest ever Pride Parade, with an estimated attendance of 40,000.
The amendment, jointly submitted by Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald, will repeal section 37 of the Employment Equality Act of 1998, which currently allows religious institutions to discriminate “where it is reasonable to do so in order to maintain the religious ethos of the institution”.
Speaking to The Journal, Labour Senator Ivana Bacik said that there were delays in the repeal of section 37 of the Employment Equality Act in order to ensure that the legislation was “robust enough":
“The Department of Education have been keen to progress it as it affects teachers in their everyday work. Teachers unions have been campaigning for this for a long time. While it has never been used to dismiss someone, it has still been present for teachers. It struck fear in teachers who were fearful of sharing personal details about their personal lives with colleagues and that really is unsatisfactory.”
According to the Irish Times, the proposal to repeal Section 37 will come before government ministers today. Following approval, the proposals will be passed on to the lower and upper houses of the Irish legislature.
The change in legislation has had cross-party support within the Irish legislature.