Wednesday, 25 October 2017

INTEGRATED EDUCATION

A N. Ireland blog reader asked my views on Integrated Education in N Ireland.



I have always been a supporter and in fact many years ago in Larne brought people together who later went on to found a very successful Integrated school in Larne called Corran.

I was originally the first mover in the project but the early committee came under pressure to discard me because I was deemed "controversial".

At the time I was hurt - but in any event, the school succeeded and that was the most important thing as Larne is 87% Protestant and 13% Catholic.

When I came to Belfast in 1978 I was horrified the thousands of children in my Falls Road parish had never met a Protestant!

Immediately I started inviting Protestant ministers and others to visit the youth club and schools I was involved in.

On one such visit, I was showing 18 Methodist ministers around Divis Flats. A little girl acted one minister, wearing a clerical collar if he was a priest.



He answered: " No love, I am a Protestant. What do you think of us".

She answered: "I hate yees".

"Why do you hate us"? asked the minister?

"Because yees don't believe in Jesus", she replied.

The minister said: "Well, I believe in Jesus".

The little girl said: "Then you're a quare kind of Protestant then".

In a humorous way, it shows the great misunderstanding there exists when people and communities never mingle or meet.

My belief is that if you mingle in school with others who are different from the age of 4 to 16/18 there will be a greater chance of misunderstanding and hatred being greatly lessened.

Segregated education is and has been part of the problem in N. Ireland.

Integrated Education can be a big part of the solution.

Vested interests like churches etc benefit financially and power wise from segregation.

But society at large benefits from integration.

Even in N. Ireland today there is still much misunderstanding, prejudice, and hatred in existence.

Integrated Education is a powerful weapon against these evils.

If I had my way, ALL SCHOOLS would be nondenominational and INTEGRATED!





73 comments:

  1. I agree. All schools should be non-denominational and integrated.

    The vague and vapid notion of 'Catholic ethos' (whatever the hell this is) as justification for the denominational apartheid in Northern Ireland always struck me as patently and sociologically absurd. One does not need to be in a 'Catholic ethos' to be Catholic.

    When all's said and done, this irrational notion was an oblique defence of Catholic bishops' power and domination.

    Seriously, would you want a man like Noel Treanor, Lord Bishop of Down and Under, to have principal input into youf child's education?

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    1. Vague and vapid - Magna - vapid describes you, along with odious, boorish, bullying, condescending etc....I'd rather A CATHOLIC ETHOS than the biased, prejudicial one you'd present. I've enjoyed my Catholuc Ethos schooling as are my children who are receiving a wonderful, holistic, faith instructed and academic education. The best one could find - excellent, thanks to the Loreto Sisters and their remarkable dedication to education, north and south. Their schools are in the top league, their Catholic Ethos, the driving force and inspiration for their successes.

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    2. No, 16:20. It is not these schools that are in the so-called 'top league', but their pupils' academic ability. This has nothing whatever to do with so-called 'Catholic ethos'.

      Grow up!

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  2. I don't think it would be right to remove the right of Catholic families who value and practise their Faith to have their children educated in a Catholic school. They should not be denied that choice.
    There was a very telling post recently from a parent who was surprised and concerned by some of the values, notions and ideas that her children and others had been receiving during the time she had tried the Integrated system. That is too serious to disregard.

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    1. That is a very crafty tactic making it about parent's rights. Secular schools do not abolish religious formation. They only leave it up to the parents to organise it. If religion is manmade then religious instruction is not really about God but about what man wants to think about God. You use human rights as an excuse for infiltrating schools but it is really the rights of your version of God you care about. You know, "Make disciples of all nations" and all that.

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    2. It most certainly is about parent's rights to decide on the kind of schooling that they wish for their most precious possession, their own children. Very above board and nothing crafty about it. Rather. it's the insidious attacks on that right that are crafty and come disguised in many forms.

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    3. MourneManMichael26 October 2017 at 19:48

      Anon @ 13:29: you make a very good point in your accurate analysis.
      And I say that because it is patently obvious to any objective examination of the argument rather than that I certainly believe religion to be entirely a human concept.
      While it may be possible for many to agree a parental "right" to choose a Catholic ethos/school, in the end politicians have to make harsh choices about funding education for all, the various denominations, and those of no faith belief or allegiance.
      So we don't live in an ideal world of unlimited educational choices, and I certainly don't want my taxes funding selective religious education.
      If parents want education in the ethos of their religious teachings and beliefs, will they be willing to fund it?
      MMM

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    4. MMM - All parents who send their children to Catholic schools are "tax payers"...so they are already paying for their "Catholic" education. What's the problem? I could make the argument that I don't want my taxes to pay for a "humanist/atheistic" approach to education free of any religious/faith dimension. But I am much more tolerant than to be so absolutist. The school where my children attend is Catholic but welcomes all faiths and none. I might argue that the ecumenical nature of the school, culturally, religiously and socially is beneficial to all. It is a most inclusive school with a broad Catholic Ethos respecting the traditions of all pupils and families.

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    5. MourneManMichael27 October 2017 at 20:52

      Anon @ 21:37, I'm glad your school respects the traditions of all pupils and families, and thank you for sharing your view with us.
      The "problem" you refer to lies in the religiously inclined taxpayer, perhaps not personally or directly, through the advocacy of the religious organisation he/she belongs to influencing politicians to allocate scarce educational resources for the maintenance of what is, in effect, religious proselytising within the broader state educational system. That could be described as a 'problem' for those of different or no faith belief.
      On a practical basis, I have to ask the following three questions:
      1)Is it still the practice that within RC schools certain class periods are allocated to teachers giving religious instruction in the RC faith beliefs, and in preparation for sacraments?
      2)For any such time thus spent in RC instruction, does the teacher's salary for that specific time continue to be drawn from general taxation of the public, which comprises those of other faiths and none?
      3)If, as I suspect, the answer to 2) is in the affirmative, is that fair, right and just that general taxpayers of different and no religious beliefs should pay for the teaching of religious preferences of others?

      I appreciate you may not wish to pay for the "humanist/atheistic" approach to education. Perhaps you only have in mind the kind of intolerant aggressive atheism sometimes portrayed by Richard Dawkins. I can understand that.
      I would argue it preferable for a humanist approach to education which concentrates on providing a broad appreciation of the diverse understandings of humankind's origins, development and belief systems within a historical context. It would be devoid of bias towards any specific belief system and focus on what seems to work best for individuals within the familial, social and national settings. This seems an educational approach worthy of all taxpayers' contributions.

      I believe that beyond that, should individuals wish to proselytise their own religious faith preferences, that ought to be provided either at home, or sought, and paid for elsewhere outside the formal state educational setting.
      MMM

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  3. From an Orthodox Christian viewpoint you Catholics and Protestants don’t look much different. No icons, no Greek or Slavonic chants, no beautiful vestments. Boring!

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    1. To the poster @4.20
      The Catholic Faith is a much deeper and distinctive thing than outward trappings just as you mention .Sadly, that isn't always readily obvious to others but it is to others.
      Also, Catholic education in the classroom does have its special ethos when at its best..Bishop Treanor does not do any teaching in any classrooms I know of....

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    2. Is there a Catholic way of teaching maths, geography, domestic science etc?

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    3. 4:20 I and many others would not like to STAND for THREE HOURS at Mass.

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    4. The Catholic church guards in its custody some of the most beautiful art, including icons, in the world. Indeed that is frequently used on this blog as a stick to beat it with. Some of its art work has been sold and new work is commissioned and sold to aid poverty in developing countries.
      You also (poster @4.20) mentioned "chants" - the Catholic Church has a rich treasury of Gregorian chant which goes back to the earliest centuries when monks first attempted to write the notation down. Museums all over the world have examples of such early music.
      The big feast days in our Church have inspired the greatest composers (right down to the living composers of the present day) to write some of the most wonderful iconic musical works ever written. Try some Palestrina or the Monteverdi Vespers. Whole books have been written on the musical heritage of the Catholic Church. How can I possibly - even as a professional musician and choir member - even start to do it justice here!

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    5. Can you give us some detailed examples of the Vatican and other Catholic bodies selling its art and the money going to the poor, please?

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    6. Three hours! The monks are usually warming up at three hours. Just when you think they’re done they gain greater force. Also there is a lot of fluidity in most services. People come and go and come back although it’s not so amongst the Old Believers. If you think about it there really isn’t anything more worthwhile than the praise of God, my Lord Bishop!

      BTW, didn’t Paul VI sell his tiara to help the poor?

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    7. Also, see poster at 21.19 re/art sales and ownership..

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  4. To succeed, there is no point making all state schools integrated if private religious schools or private schools continue to exist. What one will have (and what one does have in England) are the monied children going to the private schools leaving the poor and not so rich to wallow in the mediocrity of state schools. Cut all religious instruction out of schools but also close private schools or convert them to state use. Only when the rich have to endure the same education as the poor will education genuinely improve in these islands.

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    1. Hey! - - steady on-! Some of our state schools consistently score higher in all sorts of ways.. Your assumption and generalisation is unfounded.

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    2. Can you name those schools - genuine request, please?

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  5. All of that information regarding schools is published every year and Catholic schools are the strongest performers and always feature very heavily in the top ten strongest in exam results too. When I said "state" schools I meant "not private" schools and sorry if I misled. Even in N Ireland, where people are so aware of these issues, Catherine schools are often the first choice of people who simply want the ethos and the high standards. I cannot write out a list of results etc here - spare me that! - but I will give you two different kinds of examples :: St Dominic's Grammar School in working class Falls Rd (which I know you know well) is the top performing school in all N Ireland and very much to its credit. While we are on the Falls Rd., St Mary's College of Education leads.. leads.. always leads the way in teacher training results and God knows it's no wonder.. It is a very exacting place! - - But apologies for my digression.. the other school I will mention is St Columbanus Secondary School outside Bangor. Even in leafy North Down where there is money, a very large proportion of non Catholic children are enrolled in that school in preference to other schools available nearby. It is about the standards and the ethos and the results. But that is only two.. the list goes on and on.. Not many weeks ago, a certain prestigious English broadsheet newspaper ran an article called something like "Why are Catholic schools the best?" after the English exam results came out. I could have written it myself! But even so it didn't mention that schools are about the daily struggle to rear young people well. There is much more to it than exam league tables. A teacher who is teaching maths or domestic science is not teaching the subject, Pat.. She /he is teaching the CHILD. Believe me, there's a big difference. She may be teaching domestic science up to lunchtime and religious education in the afternoon. People have to be flexible in these times of Staff cuts.

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    1. But why is the Catholic Church in Northern Ireland so against selection based on academic results at age 11 yet completely for selection by cash and money for parents in the south and elsewhere who can afford their private schools? For example, Donal McKeown used to be my teacher at Garron Tower. As his diocese straddles the border, how can he criticise academic selection yet turn a blind eye to selection based on wealth alone just across a state line? In addition, are the Catholic schools you are quoting the ones who actually resisted having academic selection taken away from them by the bishops?

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    2. The results are higher in both academically selective schools and non-selelctive in Catholic education. The facts are there. Stop confusing the unfairness of certain bishops - - and by God I agree with you! - - with the classroom work of our hardworking teachers who have to cope with their share of the unfairness as much as some of the priests do. The bishops do not provide the day to day slog..

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    3. I never heard Donald McKeown calling for an end to selection when he was President of Garron Tower nor Eamon Martin when he was President of St Columb's in Derry - why was it ok then but not now?

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  6. 'Some of our state schools consistently score higher in all sorts of ways.. Your assumption and generalisation is unfounded'. Without specific examples, it's you who are generalising and making assumptions here.

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    1. The "specific examples" are easy to find. That poster gave two. He/she didn't write out the full lists but they are available to the public. The poster also made a very important point and fair point as well when he/she acknowledged that education was a far greater responsibility than just exam results.Nobody is saying that there aren't good state schools or good teaching happening in Integrated education.. It's just that we feel Catholic parents should not have their choice taken away from them, especially when it's something worthwhile.

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    2. Doesn't the poster you refer to begin by saying "All that information is published every year"..
      If you had even read one sentence properly!..

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    3. My main concern here is how the Catholic church promotes private education. I find it disgusting that with education, it is so obviously one rule for the rich and another for everybody else. I had the benefit of a Catholic grammar education followed by an Oxbridge one. I would rather see everybody getting a quality education rather than the cheapest one which the rich assign for the plebs while their sons and daughters are sent to private schools to be given the best their daddies' money can afford.

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  7. Thanks for your fairness, Pat in acknowl'g my reply.

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    1. No need to thank me :-)

      You submitted a very sincere, rational and well argued comment.

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    2. Thanks again, Pat.. Sadly the brickbats will follow....

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  8. I personally am aware of many many teachers who teach the child
    No need to be at catholic school for that.
    Stop pontificating at 11 25
    Best get offacebook first though.

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  9. Returning to yesterday's post, Pat. Will the appliciants to the Little Brothers of the Oratory have to have a psychological interview before they join the order?

    Good post today btw.

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    1. We have not addressed that question yet.

      Any advice?

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    2. A very important issue is raised here. In fact,I believe it is imperative that some form of Psych reference would be part of the joining process, at every level of the Community. Tom Wood would have much to share on this point, I believe. Interesting times!

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    3. Having an awareness of a person's psychological strengths and weaknesses could be helpful before a person joins the community. Community life brings it own stresses. Having an awareness of what might make a person tick could be of assistance.

      It might be helpful to upload a few let us say, 'ruminations' on the blog and see what people think... in a constructive way, of course..... but this is just a thought.

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    4. A credit rating check would be a sensible prerequisite, unlike chastity.

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    5. Whey - hey! - - and you're going to draw up a Rule of Routine.. No,? Pat says there's going to be no 'boss ".. A recipe for hippy chaos? Now remind me why a good formation programme is essential...

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    6. I am afraid lots of Catholic organisations, convents and extra parish buildings have had to be sold off, not only to help the poor but over the last few decades in particular convents, Catholic charities and the like have had to sell off their paintings and resources just to enable the charity or convent itself to keep going and thus continue its mission to Africa and work here at home eg visiting and bringing practical help to teenage mothers whose families cut them out. Some convents and monasteries especially in England have had to completely close as they just didn't have the money and the vocation numbers to continue. What I don't like to see is those wonderful historic buildings now becoming derelict. If they were National Trust properties it wouldn't be allowed to happen. There are many artists who are commissioned to make and sell off new art work and sculpture with proceedings going to the famine and Trocaire charities. Recently we sadly had the death of Saffron Walden whose work was wonderful but there are others. The question of Vatican property often comes up and it is often discussed in very simplistic terms as if the Pope had the rights and title to it. It is not anything as simple as that. You cannot sell something that doesn't belong to you. You cannot sell something very expensive unless you have a buyer who will agree to pay for it. You cannot sell something that is bound up in a long elaborate lease which allows you temporary and very restricted use of it. You cannot sell heirloom treasures that were donated by Catholic family trees in Italy when they were gifted on condition that they weren't sold. Having said that every year art houses and auction rooms such as Christie's do get donations with often the charity specially named. Mother Teresa's charities have been mentioned but also the late Princess Diana's. I don't buy art magazines anymore but you see them in some larger libraries and city bookshop or people buy them online nowadays I suppose.. You would read about Catholic art being donated for charity. Sometimes sellers stay anonymous in case they draw attention to their home address which would invite thieves.

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    7. Hi 13:17

      I think that good monastic order, reasonable deference and discipline help either or both parties to "try" a vocation and come to a decision. I think that many personality types are not just manageable in a monastic community but actually desirable and that the aforementioned structure can temper, accommodate and grow to mutual benefit. Of course where such structures fail or are lacking, then exploitation, bullying, manipulation and abuse can readily occur and without check, narcissistic psychopaths can work their way to the very top. Some sort of psych testing may be a good indicative tool in the hands of the wise, but used diagnostically I think it would risk healthy balance within a community and in the hands of an arch manipulator, could be used to shore up their position with non alphas...although the God of surprises can inspire the next beckitt!

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  10. 12 .23
    You have just made a post, a post is what us anonymous people do.
    Pat does a blog everyday
    Please be aware of the difference in description.

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    1. A post can also be made by people who are not anonymous (--Just a little something for your next lecture...)

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    2. Ha ha says the anonymous at 14.09.
      Yes of course we have a few valued contributors who have names or pseudo names.....but they know the difference between a post and a blog.

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  11. We all know that our schools should be intergrated.
    We don’t want Catholic domination in or schools.
    Please can you priests just listen instead of lecturing the people you decided to serve.

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  12. Is the little brothers going to become a knocking shop just like Gaynooth ?

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  13. 1125
    So its a She who takes domestic science......not a he / she
    You post says an awful lot about you.
    Sexist !!!!!!!!
    Go figure

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    1. @12,56
      A very unwarranted comment indeed... very rash and unfair..

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  14. My post was most certainly not intended to appear sexist. I was merely quoting a real example of a female teacher whom I know. Pat understood this as I imagine all other fair-minded readers did too. You didn't need to throw that brickbat and it does not say "an awful lot" about me as your disingenuous remark puts it.

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  15. ‘Brickbats ‘ as you call it are needed in every discussion.
    Just deal with it and stop complaining.

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  16. Yep... RC schools are very valued here as I presume in Ireland.. Over 26,000 Muslim children registered in them as Asia etc families want their kids to get s good education and do well. The religious affiliation has to be given on the child's record but they are treated very fairly by you.

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    1. The school where I work has a wide mix of pupils, of all backgrounds and faiths. It's a Catholic School and is very inclusive and welcoming of all children. It's a very integrated school and provides every pupil with equal opportunities and cares for every child with respect and dignity. A very well integrated school and a joy to work in. It's under the trusteeship of the Mercy Sisters and 2 are still involved at a pastoral level within the school. It's a school with a wonderful legacy of academic success, in the widest sense of that word.

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  17. Northern Ireland is a glorified civil service state that offers nothing culturally, economically or anything resembling academic endeavour.

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    1. @15.26
      That is absolutely ridiculous! N Ireland has best exam results of all UK and compares very favourably with the Republic of Ireland in that regard. Your post is such a bland over-generalisation that it's really not worth while taking you seriously.

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    2. I agree with you, 19:20. The poster at 15:16 is speaking from the biased persective of republucan/natiobalist garbage.

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  18. Pat if you submit to a psychological evaluation that would make a great post here! (The report I mean)

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    1. I would have no problem to undergoing a psychological evaluation.

      I have spoken a lot before about the various therapy I engaged in as a client - examine every aspect of my life.

      I am very aware of all the areas of my psychological terrain.

      In fact I believe that EVERYONE benefits from counselling and therapy.

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    2. Anyone conducting a psychological assessment need to be fully qualified and be seen as
      And no 2 individuals are alike.

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  19. Well now I would not agree with that assessment, obviously you don’t live here in the north of Ireland

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  20. 15.56 was replying to 15.16

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  21. Shocking act of vandalism against that church in Galway. I was glad to hear they have very good ecumenical relations.

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  22. Retreat: Meditations from a Monastery, a three part programme available on BBC iPlayer.

    Apparently, the Benedictines have been mired in controversy for 20 years following a series of revelations about scandals at their prestigious private schools, Ampleforth, Downside, Worth and St Benedict’s, Ealing, west London.

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  23. This is not relevant to today's topic but would you be interested in doing a blogg on halal and kosher meat . Should it be banned in UK and Ireland ? Are we eating it without knowing ? There has been a lot of talk about it latley on social media . I've seen a few videos of halal slaughter and it is horrific

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  24. If you went vegetarian like the many you would have no concerns.
    Or better still vegan...as many are.

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    1. Weather or not I'm a vegetarian has nothing to do with an animal getting it's throat cut and bleeding to death for up to half an hour while a cleric gives it a blessing ! . I'm a meat eater but I don't want that on my plate

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  25. "Whether or not.."

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  26. I have a life, thank you all the same!

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  27. In a divided sectarian society like Northern Ireland there seems little justification for segregated education. The coeducation of protestant and catholic children from an early age would help them to better understand and accept each other as human beings. The bonds and friendships formed at school would pave the way to an integrated society and over the space of a generation could go a long way to healing historical divisions. A catholic school like a protestant school follows a curriculum that does not teach subjects from the perspective of any religion. Even the religious education curriculum is standardised. The catholic ethos comes from the fact that the pupils are catholic as are the teachers. The staff may include priests and/or religious sisters. The majority of the staff are secular. Mass may be available on a regular basis. Priest and religious on staff are a declining number. Mass could still be celebrated in a co-educational school.

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  28. Isn’t that how the oldtime farmers killed their pig for family consumption.
    Mallet on the head , stuck with a knife.
    I vaguely remember something like that.
    Btw I never liked eating the bacon that was then sliced off....from the hanging up pig in a cold room...yuck

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    1. That's very true but they had no other way of slaughter and the animal was killed as cleanly as possible. But these days animals can be killed by electrocution or stun killed . I think is barbaric that any animal has to die by getting it's throat cut all in the name of a religion . I would recommend everyone look on youtube and watch halal slaughter and if your not discusted then there's sumthin wrong with yous

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