Recent CSO data show a further decline in those identifying as Christian in the Irish population. People of no religion are, again, the largest religious minority in the Republic, while there are growing numbers in non-christian denominations.
There are serious consequent issues: the control of education, medicine and charities, the Repeal of the Eighth Amendment
Now we have a vote this afternoon on a less serious but indicative matter: the Dáil Prayer which runs as follows:
Direct, we beseech Thee, O Lord, our actions by Thy holy inspirations and carry them on by Thy gracious assistance; that every word and work of ours may always begin from Thee, and by Thee be happily ended; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
The above prayer is said at the commencement of each day's business in the Dáil by the Ceann Comhairle, and in the Seanad by the Clerk of the Seanad.
A motion has been proposed for 30 seconds silence to follow this prayer to accommodate non-believers:
The new rules say: “All members present shall stand while the prayer is being read, and when it is concluded, members shall remain standing for 30 seconds of silent reflection.”
It means an excruciating prolongation of embarrassment and possible affront to TDs who cannot, in conscience, join in the prayer. Ruth Coppinger rightly describes the motion as ' Ridiculous'
It is time the separation of Church and State was completed.