No funding for CICE without co-operation over teacher training reorganisation Discussions with TCD ‘problematic’
In a statement issued last week, the Board of Governors of the Church of Ireland College of Education (CICE) – a teacher training institution – said that on 8th November the Board had “unanimously agreed, following extensive negotiations, explorations and full and comprehensive briefings, to pursue as a matter of urgency formal discussions relating to structure and governance with Dublin City University”.
The statement added that CICE would be “a recognised equal partner at the decision-making table” and indicated that its decisionmaking would be guided by four equally significant guiding principles.
REFERENDUM RESULT POSES QUESTIONS
The passing of the latest Constitutional amendment in a referendum in the Republic earlier this month was a gain for children’s rights but sends out alarming signals about the health of the political process.
The Children Referendum was passed by a slim and uncomfortable margin of 58 per cent to 42 per cent. The scale of the ‘No’ vote came as a shock both to the Government and to the children’s rights groups that had campaigned during the run-up to the referendum. Government ministers were quick to berate the Churches for an apparent reluctance to enter the debate, but the political parties can be cited too for failing to mobilize canvassers on the ground in many constituencies, and for being interested in rolling out their campaigners only when Dáil seats are at stake.
Even more worrying is the fact that barely a third of voters bothered to go to the polls, with a low turnout of 33.49 per cent – one of the lowest referendum turnouts on record. Seven constituencies recorded turnouts below 30 per cent. Many of those constituencies are in relatively deprived or neglected areas, such as North inner city Dublin, where social workers, judges and politicians are not always held in high esteem.
Voting was made easier by holding the referendum at a weekend, but the fact that two-thirds of the population did not turn out says much about how many people are increasingly disengaged from the political process. An immediate question for the Government is whether Saturday voting works, and whether future elections should be held at weekends rather than on mid-week working days. However, the long-term dilemma is whether voters are feeling increasingly alienated from the political class, as financial policies continue to bite deeply, as unemployment and immigration continue to rise and as austerity hangs as a gloomy cloud over everyone.
The Republic of Ireland is a restrained society compared to other European countries facing sweeping austerity measures. Dublin has not seen the protests and riots that have occurred in Athens, Rome, Madrid and Lisbon. Now there is the danger that the ballot box has become the people’s only revenge against politicians, but the failures of the political system should never have been used to threaten the future happiness and the rights of children in need of protection.
It is now up to the Government to match the referendum with action in legislation and implementing children’s rights, but it must also face up to the major underlying questions that have emerged in this referendum.
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Letter to the Editor
Changing Attitude Ireland at Dublin and Glendalough Synods
In her letter (Gazette, 26th October), Canon Virginia Kennerley highlighted the unfortunate situation concerning CAI and its publication stall at the Dublin and Glendalough Synods.
She states: “The Archdeacon of Dublin asked them abruptly to dismantle the stall and leave the premises.”
This is incorrect and, as Canon Kennerley was only brought into the discussion after I had spoken to the two people in charge of the stand, she could not have witnessed or heard the initial conversation or engagement with the people concerned and the remarks she alleges me to have made are hearsay!
I had explained to the stall holders that permission for their stand had been refused and that they should dismantle it. I spoke quietly, politely and began my engagement with the words: “We have a problem … this stand has been refused permission and I have to ask you to dismantle it.”
At no time did I ask them to leave the premises. As it turned out (and this is where Canon Kennerly is correct), I was misinformed. CAI had not technically been refused permission, because it had made no application to the diocese for a stand.
Once it was established that permission had been granted by the host parish, rather than the diocese, I agreed that the stand could remain and subsequently apologised to those who felt my actions were a personal attack on their sexuality.
It is fair to say that, if requested by the dioceses, I would have acted in the same polite manner had any other group erected a stand without permission from the appropriate source.
As a priest in the Church who ministers to a variety of people in hospital, prison, An Garda Siochána, the Courts and, of course, the parish, I treat everyone equally, regardless of class, creed, colour or sexuality. I sincerely trust that what may appear to some as a homophobic attack is now seen in the context of miscommunication.
David Pierpoint (The Ven.) Archdeacon of Dublin The Vicarage 30 Phibsbrough Road Dublin 7
Columns & Features
- Focus on South Sudan- Strengthening the ‘threefold cord’ – Annette McGrath, Down and Dromore’s Diocesan Communications Officer, reports on a recent unique visit of a threefold mission team, of which she was a member, to the Diocese of Maridi, South Sudan.
- Soap – Down at St. David’s
- Musings – Alison Rooke – Phew!
- Communiqué from the Commission on Episcopal Ministry and Structures
- Future rectors star in 1940s varsity rugby match
- New publication focuses on re-use of former places of worship
- Reference library planned for Belfast Cathedral