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4.3.4 Article 44.2.4 of the Constitution

Article 44.2.4 Legislation providing State aid for schools shall not discriminate between schools under the management of different religious denominations, nor be such as to affect prejudicially the right of any child to attend a school receiving public money without attending religious instruction at that school.

From the 1996 report of The Constitutional Review Group

In summary, therefore, the present reality of the denominational character of the school system does not accord with Article 44.2.4°. The situation is clearly unsatisfactory. Either Article 44.2.4° should be changed or the school system must change to accommodate the requirements of Article 44.2.4°.


  1. This Article allows the State to support schools under denominational management, provided the school does not apply religious discrimination in allowing right of entry to the school.
  2. Article 44.2.4 asserts that all schools receiving public money cannot discriminate on enrollment on religious grounds.
  3. All schools receiving State support must allow children attending to refuse religious instruction in the school.
  4. Article 44.2.4 would seem be in direct conflict with Section 15, 3(c) of the Equal Status Act. The section of the Equal Status Act should have excluded “school(s) receiving public money” from the exemption that is provided for in this section of the Act.
  5. A “Catholics First” admissions policy in a National School is not allowed under Article 44.2.4 of the Constitution.
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