This is an exchange in the Dail on 8 March 1978 between Deputy John Horgan (Lab) and then Minister for Education, John Wilson (FF).
There is nothing new under the sun in relation to ongoing human rights concerns about Rule 69 application in our National Schools.
Boards of Management had been instigated in our schools in 1976.
I had been elected to my local board of management and arising from my experience I had formed, with others, the Council for Elected Parents’ Representatives (CEPR) on National School boards of management. In that role I met minister Wilson in 1978 to follow up on Deputy Horgan’s questioning of the minister.
Nothing has changed since that time and the present government is just as protective of church interests as every other government since then. Human rights abnegations don’t count despite UNHRC warnings to Ireland that this situation can’t continue to fester.
Who is advising the state to tough this one out?
Date: 8 March 1978. Oral Answer No. 12.
Mr. Horgan: asked the Minister for Education the regulations, if any, that are laid down by his Department to ensure that children attending national school may exercise their constitutional right not to attend denominational religious instruction.
These Rules do not discriminate between schools under the management of different religious denominations nor may they be construed so as to affect prejudicially the right of any child to attend a national school without attending religious instruction at that school.
(1) The religious denomination of each pupil must be entered in the school register and roll-book. This information should be ascertained from the parent (the father, if possible) or the guardian of the pupil, where necessary.
 (3) Where such religious instruction as their parents or guardians approve is not provided in the school for any section of the pupils, such pupils must, should their parents or guardians so desire, be allowed to absent themselves from school, at reasonable times, for the purpose of receiving that instruction elsewhere.
Mr. Horgan: Would the Minister agree that these regulations are not being complied with in the situation in which a child whose parents wish him not to take part in formal instruction is required to remain in the classroom while that religious instruction is taking place? What advice would the Minister give to the parent of a child in such a situation?
Mr. Horgan: If the board of management fail to make appropriate arrangements can the parent or parents in question communicate with the Minister in the matter and will the Minister do something about it?