Part of the Continued Decrease of Influence for Catholic Church in Country
Irish schools will have to change their education options for tens of thousands of students. The Education and Training Boards (ETBs) will not be able to assume that students will receive religious education.
Religious education is not required for the secondary schools run by ETBs. However, this is mostly a symbolic rule. Most schools still do not offer alternatives to religious education and require religious classes unless parents actively talk to the school.
Ireland has an interesting case where about half of the secondary schools are run by the government but the vast majority of primary schools are run by the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has spoken out against the new ruling.
Some critics of the bill have stated that the offering of alternative classes would overwhelm schools who do not have the resources or teachers to be able to teach the extra classes. There have also been cases of students that choose to take alternative classes to be discriminated against and given limitations in their ability to choose other classes.
This is another example of the diminishing power of Catholic influence in Ireland. The country has been historically tied to the Catholic Church. However, in recent history Ireland has been moving away from the teachings of the Church. Same sex marriage has been first decriminizlied and then legalized and the same is occurring with abortion. This may be due to abuse scandals and the growing decrease of church attendance amonsgst youth.
It is believed that youth in urban areas will be the biggest population to take advance of the new law.