Ireland Moves Toward Employment Protections for LGB Teachers

Ireland Moves Toward Employment Protections for LGB Teachers

Ireland’s government this week passed an amendment to the Employment Equality Act that would allow LGB employees working in religious-run organizations, such as schools and hospitals, to be out at work without fear of being fired, according to Irish LGBT site The Out Most.

The bill, which on Tuesday passed the first half of the two-chamber Irish legislature, the Seanad, still has to still pass the final stage in the Dáil before it can become law.

Leaders of the INTO LGBT Teachers’ Group cheered the amendment, telling reporters it will have a hugely positive effect on gay, lesbian, and bisexual teachers.

“LGB teachers can be secure in the knowledge that speaking about our families and our relationships, in the same way as our colleagues, and that being gay or lesbian will have no bearing on job security or on prospects for promotion,” said Anne Marie Lillis, the chairwoman of the INTO LGBT Teachers’ Group. “When signed into law this legislation will end the threat of discrimination in primary schools based on sexual orientation.”

“The INTO has always advocated for the equal treatment of our members and to remove the weight of discrimination being felt on the grounds of sexual orientation,” said Sheila Nunan, General Secretary of the INTO. “These amendments will further that aim and ensure that the lives of our teaching colleagues significantly improve. It is a victory for all teachers in our classrooms throughout the country. This is the culmination of the hard work our members of the LGBT Teachers’ Group have done over many years.”

As The Advocate reported last month, Minister of State for Equality Aodhán Ó Ríordáin promised his offices are "working hard" to ensure the measure is enacted before the new school year begins in September. Gay and lesbian workers in other professions have had legal protections from discrimination since the 1990s.  

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