Aontú Leader and Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín has described the sex education bill being proposed by the Social Democrats as the “Soc Dems forcing their ethos on other families who don’t want it”.
“Aontú is an Irish Republican political party. We believe in a pluralist Ireland, an Ireland where everyone has a right to be who they are without fear or favour . Diversity is a key foundation of a Republic. Our republicanism comes from the Wolfe Tone’s republicanism. Where Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter can live together peacefully and where everyone can reach their full potential.” he said.
“Catholic Education is world renowned for its quality. The Catholic Church stepped into provide generations of Irish people the highest quality education when the state had either no interest or was unable to do it. We owe a debt of gratitude to the many generations of catholic educators who in many ways made Ireland one of the best educated societies in the world. The phrase, eaten bread is soon forgotten, rebounds across the speeches in this chamber today”.
He said that Aontú supported divestment of Catholic schools, but noted that “the government has been talking about divestment for years but has done precious little. Indeed when Ruairí Quinn started the process local Labour Cllrs were lobbying him on behalf of constituents not to divest certain schools”.
“We believe that all students no matter what their background, gender or orientation should be able to see themselves positively in the education that they receive. This is extremely important. It is key to the formation of a young person that they understand through their education that they have value, that they are good and they have an intrinsic dignity”.
“We also believe that all parents should be able to send their Children to a school that reflects their ethos. This by definition is the pluralist education model that a republic should have. I believe that the SOC Dem members here today should be able to send their children to any school that reflects their ethos. But I oppose strongly the Soc Dems denying parents with a different ethos doing the same. I oppose the Soc Dems forcing their ethos on other families who don’t want it”.
“The Soc Dem bill is that it is an attack on pluralism. It is an attack of diversity. The Soc Dem bill is a one size fits all bill. It states that parents can forget about their ethos, that the Minister of the day will determine the ethos of the education system and parents and students can like it or lump it. 1950s Ireland was an incredibly uniform place. You either fitted in with the uniformity of society or you had to keep your head down. But the Soc Dem Bill is simply the mirror image of that uniformity. Sure the ethos is vastly different but the uniformity at the centre of the Bill is just as stifling. The bases of pluralism is the word plural, your policy is that there is a single ethos. It is by definition anti pluralist”.
“It amazes me that the people who wear and flaunt the cloths of pluralism and diversity the most, are often the people who most vigorously oppose diversity in reality. Ógra Sinn Féin held a public debate on DIVERSITY in politics in NUIG before the last local election and they invited all female candidates in the constituency including our own Nuala Nolan, a former Labour Cllr who joined Aontú. When they found out that she was a Human Rights activist and supported everyone’s right to life they disinvited her and actually suspended the Ógra member who had invited her. Think about that, their message was that they supported diversity of opinion 100% but only if it agreed with their opinion”.
“Many of the speakers here today will say that there should be no ethos in the education of children. But you can’t have an ethos vacuum. Some of the speakers say they want a science based system. So do I. But you need a value system to make sense of science. Science has given us the power to split the atom. Our value system determines whether we use it for a nuclear bomb or a nuclear energy. The Soc Dems will say that they are a party of science, are they saying that they don’t have a value system? Of course not”.
“When I was a SF TD I was whipped by the party to vote for a Bill from the Socialist Party Bill seeking the similar outcome as this Bill. This was and is in complete contradiction to what Sinn Féin is saying in the north of Ireland. Catholic Education is especially important to Nationalist in the north. It was one of the few safe places for Nationalists where they could be safe and celebrate their culture. 6 County Sinn Féin would no better than to attack the pluralist education system in the north. Given the history of the north they would know better than to force a uniform education system on a diverse people. But Sinn Féin policy on this is partitioned”.
“This Bill is going now where and the Soc Dems know that. This Bill is I believe unconstitutional. Central to the Constitution is the right of parents to be the primary educator and be able to chose the education of their children. This Bill amounts to a Virtue Signal. Right around the world many parties of the left are spending much of their time woke virtue signalling instead of using that time representing working class people on the bread and butter issues that are hammering so many.
In the US the Democrats forgot about the bread and butter issues of the Pennsylvania Steel workers and handed those voters to Trump. The Red Wall of the north of England fell in large part because the Labour party were not listening to the needs of the working class. This is happening in France and in many other countries in Europe”.
“By all means we need divestment, we need more ethos options for parents and children right around the country. We need pluralism and diversity. But that’s not what this Bill is. This Bill seeks to return the stifling uniformity of the 1950s except in another guise. We should remember while we debate this today. That that there are thousands of kids right around the country who are stressed out becuase they cant even get a school place. That children with autism are being discriminated against for the desperate lack of school places in their home towns and kids are forced to stay at home for the lack of substitute teachers. But we are here debating a Soc Dem Bill for show that can go nowhere,” Deputy Tóibín told the Dáil.