Religion and the Irish Defence Forces

Dear Editor, I note with interest – and outrage –  that the then Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, last year changed, without notice to other interested parties, the format of the annual commemoration of the 1916 Rising as reported, ‘1916 families appeal for Mass ban to be lifted’ (IC 1/5/14). I understand that the reason given by the minister at the time was his desire to disassociate the Defence Forces, and presumably, by projection, any other State group or representative, from ‘religion’.

Imagine my surprise then when, a few weeks ago, this same minister refused to attend the Garda Representative Association annual conference on grounds of a previous, personal religious commitment!

It would appear that what is sauce for the goose is certainly not sauce for the gander!

To avoid any confusion, what the minister should have done was to include the word ‘Christian’ before the word ‘religion’ in his directive because in reality that is what he and his government meant. Their actions, as detailed by David Quinn in his excellent article in the same paper, certainly back up this contention.

Yours etc.,

Mary Healy.


Co. Cork.