The Green Party has provided the following statement on behalf of all its candidates –
1. Will you work to reform the education system so that all children in your constituency can access publicly-funded schools which have no religious ethos?
The Green Party believes that education is vital to personal, community, societal and economic development. We will promote a flexible and transparent system aiming to value diversity, meet individual needs, cherish the environment and fulfil the highest standards of international performance. The Green Party will review the Education Act to look at issues such as Boards of Management, patronage and enrolment. Reform school Boards of Management to be more open and transparent to parents students and staff, with student feedback.
2. Would you support a referendum to remove religious references from the Constitution?
The Green Party is in favour of major constitutional reform and is proposing the drafting of a new constitution. Replacing our current constitution would have huge legal, political and historical significance. Therefore we believe that the Irish public should be consulted before such an undertaking is begun. Allowing the public to vote on affirming the process by which the new draft constitution would be created would significantly increase its legitimacy and also the chances of the subsequent draft being passed by the public. The status of religious reference would obviously be debated as part of this process.
3. Do you believe that blasphemy should be a criminal offence?
The Green Party believes that a referendum would be preferable to resolve the constitutional issues surrounding blasphemy laws.
4. Would you support legislation to prevent hospitals from having a religious ethos?
The Green Party endorses the view of the World Health Organisation that “the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition”. The Green Party recognises that universal access to primary health care delivered in the community is the central pillar of an effective and affordable health care service. The Green Party is committed to the goals of equity of access to and outcomes of health care services. Health care delivery systems should reflect the diversity of society.
5. If elected, would you vote to ensure that religious bodies are treated the same as other organisations under equality and employment legislation?
The Green Party believes that all people should be treated equally. Equality and employment legislation should be applicable to everyone equally regardless of religious or secular belief.
6. Do you believe that religions should have to pay their fair share of tax on income that does not come from charitable activities?
The Green Party’s approach to taxation is driven by the principles of equity, fairness, efficiency and sustainability. The Green Party believes that all earners should contribute fairly to the tax system.