Education, edukation, edukashun…

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In September 2008 the outrageously liberal approach of the then principal of St Colm’s High School Twinbrook, west Belfast, prompted this rebuke from a local Sinn Féin councillor

“The principal should not have under any guise invited the British Army into her school. “The British Army is in occupation of part of this country.”

Clearly a process of re-programming re-education was required for the traumatised pupils.  That can now be seen to have been heralded by the then Northern Ireland Education Minister, Sinn Fein’s Caitriona Ruane, when she used an official ministerial visit to the school three months later, December 2008, to tell the assembled pupils and staff that “people should be thankful to Bobby Sands for paving the way towards a better future”.  [Sinn Féin should be grateful! - Ed]  Indeed.

For the latest lesson in that re-education, as Jim Gibney ‘reported’ for An Phoblacht this week, Sinn Féin turned up at the school mob-handed to ensure the visit was properly seen as a party political event – despite the applied cover of the “recently-formed group of local business people”.  Led by the Northern Ireland deputy First Minister, Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness, wearing one of his other hats, the party presented the “Bobby Sands Gaeltacht Scholarships” to two selected pupils.  [Value unknown? - Ed]  Priceless…  And they posed for photographs with the current school principal.

For those who didn’t pay sufficient attention in class, visual cues are on the streets.  Such as the new paramilitary mural in west Belfast.  According to Sinn Féin MLA Pat Sheehan, “It is part of a larger piece of work being done in the area…”

As Newton Emerson notes in today’s Irish News

There was outrage from some parents in 2008 when Sinn Féin minister Caitriona Ruane praised Bobby Sands as a role model for children during a prize day speech at st Colm’s High School in Twinbrook.  But that was then.  There was no sign of outrage this week after Martin McGuinness presented St Colm’s pupils with “Bobby Sands Gaeltacht Scholarships”, described by An Phoblacht as “a joint initiative taken by Colin Sinn Fein and a recently-formed group of local business people”.  In west Belfast at least, it seems Sinn Féin has now normalised the lauding of the Provisional IRA in Catholic schools.  Ethos adds value, as they say at the CCMS.

[The re-education continues! - Ed]  Meanwhile, a more direct message to others is still getting delivered in rural constituencies.  And other others have been charged after attempting to ensure “the future” of the struggle…

Adds  For the record, the previous principal at St Colm’s, Imelda Jordan, who was in place back in 2008, retired at the end of last year (August 2013) [pdf file].

  • Dec

    Well done to the two pupils concerned!

  • Red Lion

    I read a Westy somewhere else saying how the Sinn Fein iron grip on every aspect of life in West Belfast is stifling and pervasive. I guess the heat the former headmaster felt is an example of this.

    But its not a surprise-the Sinn Fein mayor couldn’t bring himself to hand out a medal to a 13 year old army cadet and yet they still harp on about how they ‘reach out to unionists’.

    Sinn Fein lecturing children about the glorious past is a bit perverse – how many children from their own Catholic community in West Belfast did republicans maim and scar through their infamous ‘nutting’ squad – kids with legs broken, beaten, shot in the knees, mentally tortmented, put down a manhole for 2 days, tarred+feathered, exiled etc etc. It was an integral part of how the republican movement functioned.

    I wonder how many such punishment beatings were being arbitrarily meted out to children by republicans during the period for which Sinn Fein are demanding that schoolchildren pay homage to Sands?

    Then there’s the child protection issues in relation to Liam Adams

    I’m not really sure how those who work in education as a day job where child protection is paramount, and are SF activists , can square this circle.

  • Naughton

    So long as we allow education to be segregated and treated as a political asset for us’uns and a stick to beat them’uns we damn our future generations to ignorance, bigotry and hatred.

    A secular, non-selective properly integrated education system would be a good start.

    I have no confidence that any of our parties is capable of delivering this.

  • http://www.e-consultation.org/ davenewman

    I agree with Naughton on the solution of integrated education, but not with “I have no confidence that any of our parties is capable of delivering this.”

    The Green Party can deliver that, just stop voting for the five old farts.

  • socaire

    Éirigh aníos, a Pheadar!

  • Turgon

    Naughton,
    I agree but integrated education in Northern Ireland tends to be ecumenically religious and often politicised in a “letsgetalongerist” fashion.

    Much better would not be integrated education in that fashion but education as you suggest: secular.

    As a committed evangelical, pretty fundamentalist Protestant Christian I would much rather the state stay out of the religious education of my children and leave it to me and my wife and the church groups my wife and I choose.

    Those who worry that that might undermine the religious (not ethno – political) ethos in Northern Ireland should look at the USA. Parts of the USA are at least as committed to evangelical Christianity as parts of Northern Ireland yet there schools are forbidden by law from having religion.

  • Pete Baker

    Adds For the record, the previous principal at St Colm’s, Imelda Jordan, who was in place back in 2008, retired at the end of last year (August 2013) [pdf file].

  • Dec

    That’s Imelda Jordan OBE, Pete.

  • Banjaxed

    ‘I read a Westy somewhere else saying how the Sinn Fein iron grip on every aspect of life in West Belfast is stifling and pervasive.’

    Pure and unadulterated bullshit, Red Lion. Facts, not hearsay evidence, would help in this debate.

    As to the topic itself, I have no reason to question Newton’s statements or Pete’s implications above which allegedly occurred in 2008 as I don’t know the facts. However, accepting all of it as true, it’s still 6 years ago. Political dynamics change quickly and, as Harold Wilson observed, a week is a long time in politics.

    Take, for example, the Larne gun-running. As Wikipedia informs us:
    The Larne gun-running was a major gun smuggling operation organised in Ireland by Major Frederick H. Crawford and Captain Wilfrid Spender for the Ulster Unionist Council to equip the Ulster Volunteer Force. The operation involved the smuggling of almost twenty-five thousand rifles and between three and five million rounds of ammunition from Germany, with the shipments landing in Larne, Donaghadee, and Bangor in the early hours between Friday 24 and Saturday 25 April 1914.

    The First World War began on 28 July 1914. Three months of a difference. So you have two British officers colluding with a potential enemy while Britain and Germany were at each others’ throats. I mean it’s not as if the war happened out of nowhere like the big bang theory. So, heroes or traitors? I’d be surprised if the present UUC, UVF or PUL community would opt for the latter.

    And here’s the final ‘so’ – Bobby Sands, freedom fighter, martyr or terrorist? Are six years too soon or are three months long enough?

    Depends who’s writing history, doesn’t it?

  • Banjaxed

    ‘the’ history. Doh…

  • Pete Baker

    Banjaxed

    “As to the topic itself, I have no reason to question Newton’s statements or Pete’s implications above which allegedly occurred in 2008 as I don’t know the facts.”

    What “facts” in the post are you uncertain of?

  • Banjaxed

    All of them, Pete, or is it a precondition of this blog to take your words as gospel.

    Perhaps it might clarify matters if you’d read again my next sentence after the one quoted by you, ‘However, accepting all of it as true….’

  • Pete Baker

    “All of them, Pete, or is it a precondition of this blog to take your words as gospel”

    No, Banjaxed. I expect you to follow the links back to the contemporary reports.

    That way you don’t have to “accept” anything as true.

  • Banjaxed

    Pete, with all due respect, you’ve 16 links in your short post. Setting aside the annoyance of having to click around the web and wasting precious time, some of those chosen may possibly be relevant to your way of thinking, others have a clear political bias or agenda which are certainly contrary to mine.

    Are you seriously advising that I take on board everything you selectively link irrespective of its author or proven veracity because you ‘expect’ me to? Just because they’re contemporary doesn’t mean they’re factually correct. And, as I said, they are your selection.

  • Banjaxed

    advising suggesting

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Banjaxed

    “So, heroes or traitors?”

    Rebels.

    Orange rebels.

    To the extent that (I as far as I’ve read and can make out) they inspired people down south.

    They challenged the law of the land and the Crown and got away with it.

    They opened floodgates.

    Oh the irony.

    And now they’re still defying the law of the land.

    Such loyalty…

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Turgon & Naughton

    “I agree but integrated education in Northern Ireland tends to be ecumenically religious and often politicised in a “letsgetalongerist” fashion.

    Much better would not be integrated education in that fashion but education as you suggest: secular.

    Excellent point.

    I bandy the words ‘integrated education’ around meaning “not segregated along religious lines” completely oblivious to the bland/letsgetalongerist connotations.

    I imagine that puts some people off the idea.

  • MYtwocents

    And where awards name after Billy Wright, handed out in state schools around Portadown, the reaction would be the same?.

  • Charles_Gould

    This is appalling. Integrated education is growing and after this I can see why. The proportion of Catholics going to CCMS schools is lower each year.

  • Naughton

    Ok, if this taudry, mutual loathing, excuse for government finally does us a favour and collapses, lets start by a proper separation of church and state in education.

    To paraphrase Turgon, religion is appropriate in the realm in the home and church, but lets keep the schools open minded, intellectually challenging and, most of all, secular.

    I wonder how many millions could be saved simply by abandoning this wasteful duplication.

  • Red Lion

    Banjaxed,

    ‘pure and unadulterated bullshit’

    calm yourself

    I believe it were the blog of Fitzjames horse that was the source, and I believe the author is a Westy.

  • Zeno

    Red
    Was it the “Vixens” blog parts of which appear in the comments here…. ? http://sluggerotoole.com/2014/05/03/whatever-you-say-say-nothing-when-you-talk-about-you-know-what/

  • Newman

    The idea that a secular education system which was compulsory is one that needs challenged. It would remove the ability of most parents to educate their children in accordance with their convictions. it arrogates to the state the idea that it knows best; it promotes secularism as a morally superior ideology or at least a neutral zone where ideas can flourish and everyone gets along.In truth, the Catholic system in particular, seems to have achieved much educationally and remains popular everywhere it is available. Examples from other jurisdictions especially USA do not suggest that public schools are a panecea. Thankfully we do not have a private education system in Northern ireland and long may it continue.

  • Old Mortality

    ‘Adam Caldwell and Grace Hawkins’
    They’ll need to get those inappropriate names’ sorted out. The immediately former Lord Mayor should be able to help.

  • Naughton

    Newman

    “….it promotes secularism as a morally superior ideology or at least a neutral zone where ideas can flourish and everyone gets along.”

    As opposed to educating children in sectarian siloes which breed ignorance and fear of others?

    I am a product of that world class N Irish Catholic maintained education system. I didn’t actually have a proper conversation with protestants regarding their beliefs until I was in university.

    I am not irreligious, but do not see why maths, physics, geography, home economics and numerous other subjects require a taxpayer subsidized religious ethos. Nor do I see why as a taxpayer I should be subsidising multiple education systems simply because it will inconvenience those parents who wish “to educate their children in accordance with their convictions”.

    You want to keep your children separate in some idealised isolated bubble? Then go ahead and pay for it yourself.

  • MYtwocents

    Please to see so many on here, advocating secular schooling. At the pace SF move, as regards taking on the church, we may get it in time for the centenary celebrations, the 2116/21.

  • Newman

    Naughton:

    I would robustly dispute the allegation that Catholic schools teach or encourage sectarianism. They promote a Catholic ethos which includes virtue self restraint tolerance social justice and respect for all. They also support life from beginning to end and despite all of the aberrations and failings they seem to remain popular with many tax payers who send their kids along.

    What many parents want is that their kids learn to have moral compass. I think secular and state schools are confused about this and reflect modern thought which is often amoral, permissive and focused not on the common good but on rights such as autonomy and personal choice.

    As a parent I think I am entitled to take a holistic view of education which sees it as more than physics and maths. i also happen to be a tax payer and wish to propose that the state if there is a sufficient consensus or demand would facilitate that proposal.Why do we fear diversity? let a thousand flowers bloom. If Catholic schools are educationally failing then they are subject to the normal sanctions.If not what is the difficulty?. Most normal societies have different models and by golly is it not the church schools in England both Anglican and Catholic where there is such demand.

    The unspoken assumption in Northern ireland is that one size fits all model will rid us of our besetting sin..I disagree.

  • Dec

    ‘Nor do I see why as a taxpayer I should be subsidising multiple education systems simply because it will inconvenience those parents who wish “to educate their children in accordance with their convictions”.’

    Are those parents not taxpayers? Or is it just you that gets to choose what your taxes subsidise?

  • Charles_Gould

    As a first step, we should change the law that allows the CCMS schools to discriminate against non-Catholics when hiring teachers.

  • MYtwocents

    Charles, that’s bull, non-catholics can not be discriminated against.

  • Charles_Gould

    Mytwocents

    Are you saying the exemption has been scrapped?
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/northern-ireland-22252202

    Hope so.

    Next step: train the teachers together.

  • Old Mortality

    Dec
    ‘Are those parents not taxpayers?’

    Only if they’re not paid by the state.

  • MYtwocents

    step one, education ministers post must not be allowed to fall into either SFs or the SDLPs hands after the next election.

  • drmisery

    Happily pay less tax (50% is just so wrong) and educate my children privately. Hopefully those highly educated professionals and iq deficient politicians in the unionist parties can solve this educational overspend.

    No surrender, more apprenticeships? Perhaps?

  • aquifer

    No way party politics should be in schools.

    Unless you are a revolutionary gang intent on sectarian apartheid as a way to secure your logistical and recruitment base, I suppose.

    Civic democratic republicanism RIP.

    Expect no useful opposition to this strategy from the Orange DUP or UUP.

  • cynic2

    “colluding with a potential enemy while Britain and Germany were at each others’ throats”

    How is buying guns off a private dealer in the Continent colluding with the enemy?

    They were fascist stormtroopers on the right wing of the IRA you know. Nor were they smuggled into Ireland in a U boat

  • cynic2

    “non-catholics can not be discriminated against.”

    Not true.That and politics are permissible areas of discrimination

  • cynic2

    “people should be thankful to Bobby Sands ”

    ….isnt glorifying terrorism a criminal offence?

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Newman

    “Naughton:

    I would robustly dispute the allegation that Catholic schools teach or encourage sectarianism. They promote a Catholic ethos which includes virtue self restraint tolerance social justice and respect for all

    I don’t think any one is saying that they actively promote sectarianism, rather, the very nature of their being separates them from another group of people.

    That may be fine in Switzerland.

    However, in NI the group of people whom they are separated from are coincidentally the very group of people with whom there is some ‘history’.

    Keeping the groups separated ensures that this ‘history’ is also ‘the present’.

    I acknowledge that a fully secular system will not come about, however, there’s no reason why some schools can’t be merged.

    E.g Magherafelt and Cookstown areas:

    Magherafelt has FIVE (FIVE!) secondary schools.

    Money could be freed up if St Pius, the integrated school and the high school were merged.
    They could give Irish and Gaelic games as options.
    Unlikely that many Protestants would take them up (at least to begin with) but at least they would be exposed to people who play GAA or learn Irish, and realise that they are not cold blooded fire breathing scaly creatures after all. (as is the current view)

    Anyone who insists on a strictly Catholic education still has the opportunity to send their kids to nearby St Mary’s, St Pat’s, St Colm’s (or even St Paul’s).

    With a bit of money now freed up, another (badly needed) school could be opened in Cookstown, again, options to choose Irish and Gaelic games.

    At least parents have the choice to send their kids to Trinity if they want a Catholic education or send their kids to Cookstown high (if they are alarmed at the thought of their kids mixing with Catholics or playing Gaelic games).

    At least in this scenario the kids have the potential to mix, which they don’t do at present.

    You said it yourself “Why do we fear diversity? let a thousand flowers bloom”

    Surely merging a few schools were feasible would be even more diverse than the current set up which amounts to little more that choosing the green or orange pill?

  • Newman

    Am Ghobsmacht:

    Ideas are interesting and reasonably put. I like for instance the concept of shared schooling which has been constructively considered by the Catholic Church. There are indeed resource issues which have to be confronted. What I resist is the facile idea that a one size fits all secular solution is the panacea.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Just a few quotes from Pádraic Pearse’s thoughts on education in Ireland, “The Murder Machine”:

    “There is no education system in Ireland. The [English] have established the simulacrum of an education system, but its object is the precise contrary of the object of an education system. Education should foster; this education is meant to repress. Education should inspire; this education is meant to tame.”

    The entire text can be found at CELT:

    http://www.ucc.ie/celt/published/E900007-001/index.html

    The entire point of the text being that he is explaining in detail how the English system did not encourage pupils to even begin to develop the true characteristics of a free people, to intelligently think things out for themselves, but instructed them in what they should be thinking. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose….

  • Greenflag

    Turgon ,

    ‘I would much rather the state stay out of the religious education of my children and leave it to me and my wife and the church groups my wife and I choose.’

    Well said Turgon . The State should be tasked with providing secular education for all up to and including third level for those who achieve the academic standard .

    Religious education should be provided by the parents , church groups , priests , ministers etc . . The genuinely religious of all denominations should’nt have to rely on the State for the transmission of their faith /faiths .

    The Churches (all of them ) should be treated like the businesses they are and taxed . Foreign remissions i.e fees to the Vatican (capital exports ) should attract an extra tax which would be reimbursed to the RC Church if said reimbursements are spent on charitable outgoings to the local Irish /British community instead of lining the pockets of Archbishops/Cardinals/Roman Curia and furnishing their palaces .

    ‘Those who worry that that might undermine the religious (not ethno – political) ethos in Northern Ireland should look at the USA.’

    Precisely . Those who genuinely want /need religious education should be prepared to pay for it . The RC Church in the USA charges fees of up to 4,000 dollars a year per pupil and possibly more . Ditto for private Jewish or Episcopalian/Anglican etc etc schools .

    A lot of money to cough up for brainwashing 101 in my book but people’s religious beliefs have to be respected but they should’nt have to be paid for by the State .

    In the words of the Christ -Render to Caesar that which is Caesar’s and to God that which is God’s ? seems fair enough imo .

  • Greenflag

    @ AG ,

    ‘than the current set up which amounts to little more that choosing the green or orange pill?’

    And neither are panaceas for NI’s particular educational imbroglio. Unlike the morning after pill the aforementioned green & orange placebos have for too many -life long adverse / reactions / misunderstandings /ignorances of the other pill colour poppers !

  • Doug

    I went to St Mary’s on West Belfast in the late 80’S / early 90’s and can remember visits from RUC speakers etc without any major furore – or maybe there was among parents but as teenagers we didn’t really pick up on it.
    Strange.
    I’m an atheist ( a stance that wasn’t fully formed, but which was something of an obvious leaning in my final years there ) and I found several of the R.E. teachers very supportive and helpful when it came to discussing my burgeoning beliefs.
    To be honest though, the only effect a religous education had on me was that I was occasionally bored in mass in school.

  • socaire

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-28193372

    Are those tyres I see? I thought that was illegal.

  • Greenflag

    @ socaire,

    “I thought that was illegal.’

    It is and it is’nt , As a religious symbol these toxic fume dispensers can’t be interfered with by the so called political authorities. They are the mob’s version of William Ulsterman’s pineapple and cheddar cheese on a stick :(

    Retards . The NI Government should send in the PSNI with the Army as back up and remove the tyres for proper waste disposal . They can leave the pallets and other non toxic fume generating materials .

    Of course the call will be that such a move would provoke the pyromaniacs and hate mongers even more .

    So be it .Some day they will have to be challenged and accept the legal and other consequences of their idiocy . The sooner the better imo.

  • sergiogiorgio

    Our generation, educated in our Catholic grammars or Protestant comprehensives, is stuffed. Don’t lay the sins of the fathers onto their children. Education needs to be secular. There is no place for religion in schools, bar a general understanding of the “options”. A fully integrated system needs to be legislated for and those schools who don’t play ball have their funding removed and those parents who want the status quo pay for the pleasure. We’ve managed and continue to run this place like a lunatic asylum. The future is with the kids of today educated and growing up together in mutual understanding and respect.

  • Newman

    And what if a majority would prefer the option of sending their children to faith schools…would you still legislate? That’s the problem ..democracy. You don’t get to impose your beliefs either unless you can persuade. Such sweeping statements about religion in schools are pretty unpersuasive…maybe a little more nuance would help?

  • Greenflag

    @ Newman ,

    Democracy is not the problem . The RC Church was never keen on democracy anyway -just look at its organisational structure .

    As sergiogiorgio states above let the parents pay for religious education be it outside of normal school hours or in private religiously denominated schools of whatever faith . The various churches /faiths /denominations could given local conditions pay for the use of school buildings during week ends /evenings so that these resources can be more efficiently utilised -if they so choose.

    If NI Catholics and Protestants & others had to pay 4,000 pounds a year to ensure that their children get indoctrinated in their choice of faith in private school then you’ll discover how truly religious they can be . Note it won’t be a majority but you may get the 1 % .

  • sergiogiorgio

    Newman – yes, I’d legislate, and why do you feel it necessarily needs a vote. Was a majority needed when the 11 plus was shelved? I agree the comment was general in nature, but I prefer to be generally right rather than specifically wrong, as in the big picture is to educate kids together outside the to the confines of religious doctrine, which has no place in the education system. Nuanced enough for you?

  • Mick Fealty

    This nothing to do with segregation people. It’s about micro managing the political content of education (or ‘political re-programming’ if you will) in schools in SF held areas.

    It’s a pretty heavy duty ‘mob’… from the deputy First Minister downwards… A ‘nice’ case of Orwellian micromanagement…

  • HopefulPessimist

    SeaanUiNeill

    Pádraic Pearse was a religious nutter!

  • Son of Strongbow

    The disposal of vehicle tyres other than by approved processors is a crime.

    The NI Environment Agency is the lead body in these matters. Its Criminal Investigation Team is tasked with such work.

    I believe it is the SDLP who holds the environment portfolio at Stormont?

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Unacceptable for Sinn Fein to impose their perverse view on terrorism upon school pupil in this vile manner.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Oh dear, HopefulPessimist, please, please read the text of “The Murder Machine” before simply being seduced into dismissing everything by your preconceptions about the author. As Mick says about the theme of the thread in genera,l “It’s about micro managing the political content of education (or ‘political re-programming’ if you will) in schools in SF held areas.”

    Pearse has something very, very meaningful to say about this entire nefarious process of political mind-blocking, something that transcends any simplistic political or religious categorization. Forget your problem with the man, read what he really has to say about what education should be doing to nurture the individual human intelligence. It makes interesting reading when contextualized with what is being demanded at St Colm’s.

    And I’d thought that the entire theme of the thread was about the need to nurture genuine open mindedness……..

  • SeaanUiNeill

    HopefulPessimist, if you skip over to the “Ireland’s histories will remain a foreign country…” thread there is a most helpful comment:

    “The difficulty for many in this neck of the woods is that complexity leads to shades of grey and consequently the need to admit that the black and white narrative which each sides perpetuates is somewhat flawed.”

    I think Pearse certainly deserves to be rescued from the simplistic white hat/black hat movie he has been cast in by both “traditions” and deserves to be looked at for his educational work. It calls for serious historical re-assessment in contrast to the perpetuation of unhelpful myths.

  • Alan N/Ards

    As a tax payer I want my children educated at a Grammar school. Why is John O’Dowd trying to deny me that right when he is accommodating other tax payers?

  • Newman

    sergiogiorgio:

    Legislation can only be passed by a legislature not by the fiat or whim of a Minister. In Northern Ireland education is a devolved matter.Look at the difficulties in implementing ESA if you think that it can be achieved by a wave of the hand. Martin Maginness used the excuse that abolition could be achieved by regulation and not primary legislation. That could not happen now under current arrangements because the right to select is preserved in primary as opposed to secondary legislation.The effect of his act was also annulled by the St Andrews Agreement and we now have a proliferation of unofficial tests at 11.

    Religion and or its place in civilisation, history and an understanding of same is a part of any balanced and rounded education in the western world and to exclude it from the public square is (a) intolerant; (b) unlikely to happen in Northern Ireland where it remains popular.

    Shared education where facilities are shared, ethos is preserved and resources better utilised might well work with a fair wind. A secular model obsessed with autonomy and personal choice unlikely to secure much traction unless the Green party have an unexpected landslide.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    alan N/Ards

    “As a tax payer I want my children educated at a Grammar school. Why is John O’Dowd trying to deny me that right when he is accommodating other tax payers?”

    Good point!

  • Pete Baker

    Focus gentlemen…

  • son of sam

    Can anyone clarify if this initiative was approved by the Board of Governers at the school?One might presume that there is a S F councillor or two on that Board.

  • sergiogiorgio

    Newman,

    The legislature is, in essence, the politicians and they take unpopular decisions every day of the week, without deferring to the voters, so I don’t understand your point.

    To your other point do we now define France as intolerant, as a secular society. My point still stands, religion has no place in the education system beyond an understanding of the concepts. Because I study biology doesn’t make me a biologist, but if I go to a catholic school and study religion I am a catholic, or at the least, expected to be so. Religion and the intolerance of others “not like us” has been a primary mover in this disaster of a country. Catholicism and Protestantism should be removed from our schools as it “selects” and encourages division. The only thing our generation has been good at is not paying attention to what divides us and continuing to make the same mistakes. I pray the next generation gets a better deal and a big part of that would be educating kids outside of the confines of religion. The parents, churches etc can pick up the slack if needed.

  • HopefulPessimist

    SeaanUiNeill

    I will admit my response was based on your quote rather than a reading of the full text and my own well developed bias against Mr Pearse although not for the reasons you seem to suspect and reading it in full hasn’t changed my opinion.

    As a socialist I feel that Pearse and latterly de Valera turned a socialist and largely secular movement for Irish independence, particularly in the larger cities, into a religious and sectarian movement based on the catholic religion and a fantasy of pre-historic Ireland.

    And while one can agree with some of the broad points made in his essay it seems to me that it was the needs of capitol, rather than the English in particular, that was the driving force behind the education system that then pertained in Ireland and other parts of the industrial world. The rest consists of hyperbole, political and religious cant and the eulogising of some ancient Irish society on the basis of very little or no evidence. Most tellingly when talking about inspiring young Irish people he makes the following statement;

    “Such Inspiration will come most adequately of all from religion”.

    Hallelujah and pass the ammunition!

  • SeaanUiNeill

    HopefulPessimist, thank you for taking the trouble to read “The Murder Machine”. i had not meant to endorse everything Pearse wrote, and yes, I too think that “it was the needs of capitol, rather than the English in particular, that was the driving force behind the education system that then pertained in Ireland and other parts of the industrial world.”

    Still is, which is why I think that Pearse’s interest in actually educating rather than indoctrinating his pupils is still of considerable interest today. An old friend who was educated in the Free State system of the 1930s once said to me on a visit to St Enda’s “This is the school I should have gone to.” I’m sorry that you are unable to see beyond the historically situated nationalism to the deeper critique of all commercial modern society. For example:

    “Professor Eoin MacNeill has compared the English education system in Ireland to the system of slave education which existed in the ancient pagan republics side by side with the systems intended for the education of freemen. To the children of the free were taught all noble and goodly things which would tend to make them strong and proud and valiant; from the children of the slaves all such dangerous knowledge was hidden. They were taught not to be strong and proud and valiant, but to be sleek, to be obsequious, to be dexterous: the object was not to make them good men, but to make them good slaves.”

    We are still taught to be slaves, just as completely under “Socialist” as under “Capitalist” systems of education. Pearse’s emphasis on developing an education that stimulated the genuine imaginative needs of actual human beings, even if he wanted them to share his nationalist vision, seems to me to be far from simply “hyperbole, political and religious cant and the eulogising of some ancient Irish society.” Perhaps you should read it more carefully, rather than pre-judging its contents…….

  • SeaanUiNeill

    And, admit it, it’s at least interesting to be able to quote Pearse against Sinn Féin……….

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Naughton

    ‘I am a product of that world class N Irish Catholic maintained education system.’

    I presume you don’t regard yourself as a raving bigot? If so, how did you slip the net? Do you think all your old classmates are raving bigots?

    ‘I didn’t actually have a proper conversation with protestants regarding their beliefs until I was in university.’

    Neither did I. But then I don’t recall having a conversation about religion with anyone till I was in my twenties. I did however have plenty of conversations with Protestants about football, the weather, sex, music, TV, movies, which pubs and off-licenses took a lax attitude to obviously-fake IDs. Y’know, the kinds of things that kids and teenagers usually talk about.

    When the time came that I actually did have conversations with Protestants about religion, it turned out I was able to converse quite meaningfully, because the priests and brothers had taught me pretty well about the Reformation and the basic tenets of the major Protestant denominations. They had even somehow inculcated in me, presumably unintentionally, a sneaking regard for Martin Luther, and a clear sense of causality between the Reformation and the renaissance.

    Meanwhile, our study of Irish history was anal in its PCness, Fealtyesque in its ‘both sides’-ness.

    Maybe your school was an ‘idealised isolated bubble,’ but my school wasn’t. It was concerned with education, not indoctrination. I suspect it’s the lack of the ‘right kind’ of indoctrination that integrationists really object to.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    A question to the integrationists:

    if religious education is the problem, how come the vast majority of sectarianism and racism in our society emanates from those educated in the ‘secular’ state system, rather than in the CCMS system?

  • HopefulPessimist

    SeaanUiNeill, yes it’s a nice twist and as I said earlier I do support the broad thrust of his argument about the nature and purpose of education although I suspect (and I may be doing him a disservice) that he wasn’t the first educator to rail against the machine.

    I have to say it did make me reflect on my own education and the one thing that was almost completely lacking was inspiration. With hindsight I find the lack of passion shown by my teachers for the subjects they had chosen to teach hard to understand, perhaps the system had ground it out of them.

  • sergiogiorgio

    Billy,

    What secular state system are you referring to? I don’t know too many coeducational comprehensives. The general point is still accurate. We need to ensure our kids, whatever their creed, are educated together. Schools are not there to religious’ise our kids. That’s the job of bampot parents, priests, ministers and the rest.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    I think the comments regarding Bobby Sands and indeed the trophy were ill considered.

    It’s basically giving a Father Ted style endorsement: “The IRA; A great bunch of lads”

    Also, having an Irish language award named after a Provo? And people spit the dummy out when ever someone suggests republican hijacking of the language.

    Copse. Trees. Visual obstruction thereof.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Billy Pilgrim

    A question to the integrationists:

    if religious education is the problem, how come the vast majority of sectarianism and racism in our society emanates from those educated in the ‘secular’ state system, rather than in the CCMS system?”

    Billy, for sake of argument, I’ll work on the premise that your assertion is correct (more on that later).

    Let us compare the social fabric of Catholic comprehensives vs state (Prod) comprehensives.

    Socially speaking what part do loyalists bands play in either system?

    In the Catholic system, none.

    In the state system it varies from potentially very little to a great deal.

    You have made your opinion on said bands quite clear. You consider the OO to be the KKK, bands area at the more aggressive end of the scale (I refer to Blood n thunder/KTP bands).

    Young lads are quite likely to be influenced by loyalists bands.

    This has its good points (as highlighted by Quincey Dougan, in terms of community and wot not).

    But it also trails these young fellas along whenever the tribe is ‘under attack’.

    Now, what is the influence of loyalist bands in mixed schools.
    I don’t have any figures unfortunately, but, anecdotally speaking I recall NO ONE from the Rainey Endowed School, Magherafelt being in a loyalist band (though I’m sure there must have been one or two).

    I was the only one in my family to not go to there and I joined a loyalist band (there was quite a culture of bands in my school).
    All my cousins went to the mixed Rainey School, NONE of them joined loyalist bands.

    People who I know who were in loyalist bands but transferred from my school to the Rainey quit the bands shortly thereafter.

    Do you see a possible link here between a culture of loyalism in schools where there are no Catholics vs weaker culture of loyalism where there are Catholics to mix with?

    As Red Dwarf’s Kryten might put it: “Do you know WHY we can’t hear any loyalist bands? Becauuuseeee there are noooooo loyalist bands to heaarrrrr…”

    Is this surely not worth investigating?

    It is anecdotal and a rule of thumb but by Christ there’s the sort of pattern there that a marketing agent would kill for.

    You are amongst the most articulate and cut throat critics of loyalist navel gazing and blinkered mentality on this site yet you have just voiced your opposition to driving a wedge straight into *a* foundation of loyalist short sightedness.

    It is much more difficult to spout horrible, ill-informed bigoted bile about a certain demographic when said demographic is sitting beside you in class (and especially if she’s hot).

    I say this with the conviction of a former, ill-informed bigot.

    Stop bleating about loyalist intransigence if you fully support the machinery that helps to create them.

    You can’t have it both ways.

  • MYtwocents

    am, that was a very long and drawn out way of putting Billy’s bigotry straight,
    there’s a short way,
    so you must have went to a state school billy, your the worst bigot on here.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    MYtc
    I’m afraid long and drawn out is my signature…