It’s an old principle in business communication that “everything communicates”. Like it or not, other people will receive and interpret the signals you send, even the ones you don’t want to receive for them.
As the certainty of a future United Irealnd has grown, especially among the younger cohorts in the south, nationalism sends out signals that even the standards of the NI do not have to be adhered to before power is shared.
The South’s Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) has found that a non-denominational secondary school is discriminated against by favoring Church of Ireland students from a local primary school for admission.
The Irish Times reports:
Brian Dalton, the WRC clerk, has also ordered the community school to discontinue giving priority to students of the Church of Ireland Faith attending the nearby national school when it comes to first year enrollment. In addition, it has been instructed to change its admissions policy to ensure that behavior prohibited under the Equal Opportunities Act ends.
The school, which was not named in the decision, claimed that it complied with the Equal Opportunities Act and that it preferred no or no religious belief to another when deciding who to accept into the first year.
Mr. Dalton noted, however, that it is difficult to agree how the preference for Church of Ireland students is consistent with this stated aim, while at the same time admitting that a particular religious denomination is preferred.
As far as I know, no one has challenged the right of Catholic schools in Northern Ireland to discriminate on religious grounds, even in the deepest, darkest depths of their history before the problems.
In many ways, those of us in attendance were given privileged access to a whole range of topics and interests that were simply not available in general government education. Things like language, sports, and history.
Of course, this is a multidemonational school, not a religious one. But it is obvious that without the tiny minority of Protestant students in the south it would lose that status very quickly.
The southern government has long had promising protections for this minority of southern schools such as feeder schools, ethos, and the provision of transportation, very few of which have been honored for generations.
It is particularly bad news to end the year to demand that a religious minority relinquish their rights in a case asserting the right of a student from a majority population to take the place of a student from a tiny minority.
It will not escape those in Northern Ireland who wonder how their minority status will be respected in a new United Ireland. User interface advocates might be advised to stop throwing dry wood at their own pyre.
Photo by Life Matters is licensed under CC0
Mick is the founding editor of Slugger. He has written articles on the impact of the internet on politics and the media and is a regular guest and speaker across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty