Wednesday 18 October 2017

I'm an atheist - but I believe the Dáil prayer is an acceptable fact of our nation's Catholic culture

Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the Arbour Hill 1916 commemoration ceremony at Arbour Hill Church in Dublin. Photo: PA
Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the Arbour Hill 1916 commemoration ceremony at Arbour Hill Church in Dublin. Photo: PA

Lorraine Courtney

The Dáil prayer is safe, for now. Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have voted to keep the prayer as well as a new 30-second period for silent reflection. The "liberals" aren't happy. The prayer, just like the sounding of the Angelus bell, so the argument goes, is slap in the face to the new multicultural, multi-faith Ireland, causing those of other faiths and none to feel marginalised and shut out.

It's a throwback to our oppressed past and something that subverts our basic human rights.

Now, we're not alone in being some kind of backwater - similar prayers are said in the US, Canadian and Australian parliaments.

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