"We weren't elected to pray" - Coppinger will not stand for Dáil prayer

Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger spoke to High Noon

"We weren't elected to pray" - Coppinger will not stand for Dáil prayer

Ruth Coppinger talks to the media on the plinth at Leinster House | Image: RollingNews.ie

Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger said TDs will not stand for the Dáil prayer, saying there is a question of 'a freedom of conscience'. 

Speaking to High Noon, Coppinger insisted her party was not raising the issue in an effort to secure votes.

"I stand for full freedom for minorities," she said. "I stand for the wealth of society being owned and controlled by those who make it and it being distributed in a completely different way

"What I won't stand for - metaphorically and literally - is the idea that TDs were elected to pray. We weren't elected to pray."

Coppinger said one in four people in her constituency was born outside of Ireland, and that her constituents are offended by the concept of the prayer.

Secularism

Coppinger said people want to be represented on the issue of secularism.

"A very big issue right now is the separation of church and State [...] A new generation does not think that the Dáil should have one prayer of one denomination.

"I think they've made a big mistake with this [Dáil prayer]. First of all, they wanted to bring it in without debate. We insisted on a debate and we got a very small debate.

"If they had thought about the consequences, it's of dubious legality that you force elected representatives to stand for a prayer because it's got nothing to do with the mandate upon which we're elected."

Coppinger insisted she had no issue with standing for 30 seconds of non-denominational reflection, but that the concern surrounds the idea of one religion being enforced. 

The prayer says: "Direct, we beseech Thee, O Lord, our actions by Thy holy inspirations and carry them on by Thy gracious assistance; that every word and work of ours may always begin from Thee, and by Thee be happily ended; through Christ our Lord. Amen."