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red herring

'Not a chance' schools will lose funding if they don't support same-sex marriage

It has been dismissed as a ‘red herring’.

THE EDUCATION MINISTER has stressed that there is “no prospect” funding will be cut for schools who do not support same-sex marriage,

Fears were raised by religious groups that some schools could be penalised if the upcoming referendum is passed.

In a petition, they are now calling for the inclusion of a “conscientious objection” clause to be included.

Richard Kimble, the author of the petition, told RTÉ Morning Ireland said he feared some schools could lose out on funding if they decided to stick to teachings on marriage that outline it as solely between a man and a woman. He said:

Traditionally marriage is between a man and a woman, and by faith. The State can define marriage anyway they like.

Kimble, a member of the Religious Society of Friends, dismissed that fears over funding were “far-fetched”.

Speaking on his way into Cabinet this morning, Minister Brendan Howlin described Kimble’s suggestion as a “complete red-herring”. He told reporters

There is absolutely no fear that any school or religious organisation couldn’t continue to express its own views on any religious matter without any fear of any funding being touched.

In response to queries from, s spokesperson for Minister Jan O’Sullivan said she “fully endorsed the view expressed” by Minister Howlin that the issue was a red herring.

Leaving Cert Exams Results Minister for Education Jan O'Sullivan Laura Hutton / Photocall Ireland Laura Hutton / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

The Minister said:

There is no prospect of schools being penalised financially – the issue doesn’t arise.

In the online petition, religious groups are calling for Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald to “provide for and safeguard the right of people on grounds of ‘conscience’ to abstain from endorsing same-sex marriages while in employment, worship or through social interaction”.

“We the undersigned, for reasons of faith, consider the state of marriage the exclusive province of a man and a woman,” it reads.

The Irish Examiner reports that it has been signed by the Irish Council of Imams, and Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland, along with individual members of other religious groups.

At the time of writing, it has attracted just 206 signatures.

Originally published 5.27pm

Read: Referendum threat could mean 4,000 fewer priests to sign off on marriages >

More: Mary McAleese says the same-sex referendum is about children – gay children >

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