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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07DUBLIN737 2007-09-20 16:16:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Dublin
Cable title:  

IRISH RESPONSE TO THE 2007 IRFR AND OTHER

Tags:   KIRF KPAO OPRC PGOV PHUM EI 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXYZ0008
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDL #0737 2631616
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 201616Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY DUBLIN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8611
					  UNCLAS DUBLIN 000737 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DRL/IRF FOR NANCY HEWETT
DRL/SEA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KIRF KPAO OPRC PGOV PHUM EI
SUBJECT: IRISH RESPONSE TO THE 2007 IRFR AND OTHER
RELIGIOUS ISSUES

REF: STATE 128772

Summary
--------



1. (SBU) POLOFFS delivered the 2007 International Religious
Freedom Report (IRFR) to John Kennedy, Principal Officer,
Office of the Secretary General, Department of the Taoiseach
on September 18. Kennedy expressed concern regarding the
focus on anti-Semitism in the 2007 IRFR. He said that many of
the anti-Semitic incidents in the report were caused by the
same individual. In a related topic, Kennedy countered
recent reports of children denied access to schools because
of race, noting that the problem was one of capacity not
discrimination. Finally, he commented on the recent
controversy regarding the police's (Garda) refusal to allow a
Sikh police reservist to wear his traditional turban while on
duty. Kennedy said that maintaining restriction of headgear
is a question of uniform policy, not of religious expression.

Concern Regarding Anti-Semitic Focus


--------------------------





2. (SBU) During a September 18 meeting with John Kennedy,
POLOFFS delivered the 2007 International Religious Freedom
Report (IRFR). (NOTE: Kennedy is the main contact for the
Taoiseach's religious outreach program. End note.) Kennedy
commented that, as in previous IRFRs, the 2007 report
overemphasized the anti-Semitic problem in Ireland. Many of
the examples given in the report, he said, were the actions
of a man currently receiving psychiatric treatment. He added
that several of the other incidents cited were examples of
anti-social behavior, but because the victims were Jewish,
the acts were incorrectly deemed anti-Semitic. Kennedy said
that the Irish authorities do not view anti-Semitism as a
major social problem in Ireland.

Schools Not Racist Just Overburdened


--------------------------





3. (U) Kennedy said that recent reports of discrimination
against African children in the school system were actually
issues of capacity. Local papers reported that an estimated
60 African students in the Balbriggan (County Dublin) school
system were denied admittance because of their ethnicity.
Kennedy clarified that schools give preference to children of
the school's religious denomination and to siblings of
current students. The school district reached capacity with
60 children unaccommodated, he said, and due to the
demographics of the Balbriggan area, most of the remaining
children were of African descent. He reiterated that the
children were not denied admittance based on their race.
(NOTE: According to the Equal Status Act of 2000, providing
preference in primary or post-primary education to students
of a particular religious denomination in an environment that
promotes certain religious values is legal if it is essential
to maintain the ethos of the school. End note.)

Garda Sikh Debate


--------------------------





4. (U) The recent controversy over a Sikh police reservist
who was denied permission to wear the traditional Sikh turban
while in police uniform is the first time such an issue has
been raised, according to Kennedy. He added that the
restriction was unique to the police department and was
solely a question of uniform policy, not religious
expression. Kennedy said that it is necessary to maintain
the uniformity of the police headgear so that any citizen of
any nationality, religion, or ethnicity feels comfortable
asking a police officer for assistance. He pointed out that
there are no other public service positions that have similar
restrictions. For example, he said, Catholic nuns who work
in the public libraries often wear a full habit, including a
head covering, while working.
FOLEY