On 21st October 2011, the Irish Centre for Religious Education hosted an international conference on the theme ‘Towards Mutual Ground: Religious Education, Education and Diversity’. The conference was held in Mater Dei Institute of Education, Dublin City University. A follow-up conference ‘Toward Mutual Ground: Religious Pluralism in Educational Practice in Irish Schools’, again in conjunction with the Irish Centre for Religious Education, took place in Mary Immaculate College of Education, University of Limerick, on 23rd March 2012. The conferences were unique in the manner in which they brought together a cross section of people with a range of attitudes toward belief, pluralism and Religious Education in the search for ‘mutual ground’. The proceedings of these two very successful and well attended conferences are made available in this publication: Toward Mutual Ground: Pluralism, Religious Education and Diversity in Irish Schools.
The various authors outline key principles for understanding the relationship between religious pluralism and Religious Education, reflecting upon international research as well as policy and contemporary educational practice in Ireland. The voices of people associated with faith-based schools and multidenominational schools are heard alongside those who would like to see a secular or nondenominational educational system in Ireland. This publication acknowledges the integrity of diverse perspectives while encouraging people of a variety of religious and secular beliefs, to recognise the mutual ground upon which they can build together. This book makes a major contribution to the dialogue about what constitutes good education and good Religious Education in the pluralist context that is Ireland today.
Contributors include Professor Robert Jackson (University of Warwick); Professor Terrence Merrigan (Leuven University); Ms. Suzanne Dillon (Department of Education and Skills); Dr. Andrew McGrady (Mater Dei Institute of Education); Professor Professor Gavin D’Costa (Bristol); Professor Marie Parker Jenkins (University of Limerick), and Dr. Anne Looney (National Council for Curriculum and Assessment).
Gareth Byrne is a priest of the Archdiocese of Dublin assisting in St Gabriel’s Parish and in the other parishes of the Clontarf/Dollymount Pastoral Area. He is chairman of the Dublin Diocesan Council of Priests. Dr Byrne is Head of Religious Education at Mater Dei Institute of Education, Dublin City University, and Coordinator of the Irish Centre for Religious Education.