A. 2003 European Convention on Human Rights Act
Protocol to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms1
Right to education
No person shall be denied the right to education. In the exercise of any functions that it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religions and philosophical convictions.
B. 1995 Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
Article 12 ……………….
The Parties undertake to promote equal opportunities for access to education at all levels for persons belonging to national minorities.
C. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions.
D. International Covenant on Economic, Social & Cultural Rights
2. The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize that, with a view to achieving the full realization of this right:
(a) Primary education shall be compulsory and available free to all;
E. UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to education, and with a view to achieving this right progressively and on the basis of equal opportunity, they shall, in particular:
(a) Make primary education compulsory and available free to all;
F. International Covenant on Economic, Social & Cultural Rights 1966
Art. 13 (1): The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to education. ……….. They furtheragree that education shall enable all persons to participate effectively in a free society, promoteunderstanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations and all racial, ethnic or religious groups……………….
- All international agreements and conventions entered into by Ireland should be adhered to – both in letter and in spirit.
- Fundamental to most such international agreements is that the State should recognise the rights of children to be allowed freedom of religion, and that the State should not interfere with such rights.
- The European Convention on Human Rights precludes the State from allowing children to be excluded from local National Schools on the basis of their religion – where there effectively is no other available free primary education for such a child.
- A “Catholics First” admissions policy in a National School is not allowed by the European Convention on Human Rights.