Labour to debate ban on Catholics in senior posts

Labour to debate ban on Catholics in senior posts Labour TD Aodhan O Riordan


Catholics who apply for jobs in the civil service would be screened to ensure that they are not too Catholic under a proposal being discussed by the Labour party. The plan is likely to cause further tension with coalition partners, Fine Gael, who have been accused of allowing Labour to set the Government’s agenda.

The proposal is contained in an internal document that will be put before the Labour party conference later this year and, if adopted, Catholic applicants would be forced to answer questions on their religious faith.

The so-called ‘Clontarf Report’, which has been endorsed by Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, insists that ”all senior officials in State bodies which are likely to have to deal with the Catholic Church should be screened to ensure that they will not show inappropriate deference to the Catholic Church”.

”Those who feel they are ‘Catholic first and Irish second’ should seek promotion in other organs of the State,” the document states.

The document does not outline how Labour Party officials would decide whether a Catholic is eligible for a role or not. Even if Labour does adopt the document it is likely to fall foul of the courts given the amount of legislation that prevents discrimination on the grounds of religious beliefs.

The Labour Party conference will take place in NUI Galway in mid-April, and the report, which was adopted last year by the Dublin North-Central constituency council, will be proposed by the Clontarf branch of the party.