Irish Catholic hospitals may have to remove religious symbols

Catholic hospitals in Ireland may have to remove crucifixes and other religious symbols from rooms with non-Catholic patients.

A new report issued last Thursday by former European Union official Catherine Day focused on the relationship between the Irish state and Church-run hospitals.

There are twelve Catholic hospitals in the Republic of Ireland, all of which receive state funding.

The report said, “A number of people who responded to the consultation felt that the religious ethos of an organization was apparent in its décor, through the presence of chapels, religious icons, logos and posters.

“While not directly related to the range or delivery of services, we recommend that organizations should be cognisant of the impact of décor on patients/service users and strive to ensure that their personal preferences in this regard are met to the greatest extent possible.”

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar says the report won’t force hospitals to remove religious symbols from the public areas of their facilities.

“It’s not a campaign from the Government or anyone around removing cribs or crucifixes or statues of Our Lady – that’s not what’s going to happen.

“But it is a message to charities and voluntary bodies that do run hospitals and schools just to have regard to these things,” he says.

“It is the 21st century, things have changed, a lot of patients, a lot of kids aren’t religious, maybe aren’t Roman Catholic, and the ethos of an institution that’s publicly funded should reflect the public, not just any one section of the public,” Varadkar told the radio station.

Varadkar says he does not believe in banning religious symbols. However, he would like more diversity of those symbols.

“I’d have a crib, I’d have a menorah and something for Eid too. Lots of parish schools recognise that they have children from other traditions.”

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News category: World.

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