Law Governing Childhood Education in Ireland

The Irish Human Rights Commission (IHRC) protects the rights of Irish citizens in different sectors. All children in Ireland have the right to education. All children have the right to go to school. Different bodies or entities grant the right.

Education is embraced at both international and local levels (ASTI 2019). This paper discusses five sources of law concerning the right to education in Ireland. Apart from the Irish Constitution, the document also discusses other sources of law, such as the international conventions and the EU legislation.

International law

Ireland is one of the member states of the United Nations. Due to this fact, the country is subjected to the treaties formed by the United Nations. Various treaties address different aspects of human rights. The countries are subjected to the implementation of international treaties. For instance, Ireland is bound to the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the human rights of the child. The convention provides that children have the right to be treated with care and love. As far as education is concerned, the convention provides that the right to attend school is essential.

Article 23 of the convention on the rights of a child provides that disabled children have the right to special care and education. Regardless of their condition, disabled children have the right to enjoy a decent life. The state or any authority should not deprive such children of the right to education.

For instance, they should be allowed to access resources and even attend the best schools in the country (UNICEF 2018). All children should be treated with fairness in terms of education and access to resources. This article aims at helping disabled children to realize their full potential through education.

Article 28 of the convention on the right of children holds that all children have the right to education and that the state should ensure that primary education is free and compulsory. Based on the millennial development goals, all member countries were supposed to provide free primary education to the children by 2015.

In response to the development goals, many countries, including Ireland, adopted free primary education. Also, making primary education to be compulsory prevents discrimination. This article also provides that school rules should be consistent with the right of children and dignity.

Article 29 of the convention provides that education shall aim at developing the child’s personality, talent, mental and physical abilities. In addition to this, the agreement holds that education should prepare children for adulthood. Human development is attributed to education. Moreover, the article also provides that education should also teach the children good morals, such as respect for their parents. Education should be a vital aspect of any society.

The Constitution

The constitution is Ireland’s most influential law that governs the conduct of Irish citizens. No law conflicting with the provisions of the Irish constitution can be enacted in the country. This is an indication that the constitution is the supreme law of the land. All rights and freedoms of various groups of people are enshrined in the constitution.

Various authorities implement constitutional law. Notably, the judicial system ensures that constitutional law is implemented in multiple sectors. Those who go against the provisions of constitutional law are likely to be convicted in the court of law.

According to Article 42 (1) of the Irish Constitution, the state recognizes that the primary educator of a child is the parent. Parents should guarantee their children the right to education. Regardless of the religious, moral, or intellectual values of the parents, they should ensure that the children access basic training.

Parents have the opportunity to provide such education at home, in private schools, or those organizations that are established by the state. Moreover, the state shall not force parents to take their children to national schools. Instead, they have the opportunity to take their children to any school that they deem fit for them.

Even though the state shall provide free primary education, private faith schools shall not benefit from the initiative. Therefore, parents who intend to take their children to private schools should not expect free primary education.

The Irish constitution enables the parents to have a clear understanding of the state’s take on the need to implement free primary education and availability or public schools. Furthermore, the constitution addresses the fact that religion influences parents’ decisions in terms of the selection of schools.


Apart from laws enshrined in the constitution, other enactments are made by the legislative authority to suit the needs of the people. However, such adoptions should not conflict with the provisions of the constitution. According to the Education Welfare Act 2000, parents should ensure that children between the age of 6 and 16 attend a recognized school.

Children should be taken to school after attaining a certain age. The Act also provides that children have the right to attain a minimum level of education. Therefore, they should not be deprived of the right to education.

The Education for Persons with Disabilities Act 2004 provides equality in terms of the provision of education. This Act was enacted to provide equality and fairness in the education sector. There are various national schools for physically and mentally challenged children.

The state recognizes that every child has an opportunity for a good education. The Act provides for the unique needs of education to incorporate the needs of all children in Ireland. The two Acts explains the government’s concern about education and the need to promote education for all children regardless of their physical or mental conditions.

Common law

In almost all countries, common law is one of the primary sources of law. In Ireland, common law is regarded as a source of law that governs different sectors. Common law is considered as a source of ethical standards and a reflection of what happened earlier. The court system incorporates the aspect of case-laws in the determination of current cases.

In Ireland, common law includes the historical aspects of the law that are applied in the current situation. The judges of a given court can use the decision made on a similar case to make a ruling on the matter at hand.

Based on the case of Maher v Presentation School Mullinger, the minor got injured in the classroom of the defendant school. The actions of Wayne were against the provisions of the school rules (Huggins Claims Services 2018). Generally, the case resulted from the negligence of a particular school.

The law provides that all schools should have rules and regulations to govern the conduct of children. The school should adopt the rules and regulations in the context that is appropriate for the children and the teachers. In regards to the implementation of the rules, teachers should play a significant role in ensuring that all children adhere to the standards.

Schools should adopt rules that are applicable in various places within and even outside the institution. For instance, some objects should not be allowed in the classroom. Teachers should ensure that children do not possess items that can cause injury to their colleagues.

The case in question resulted from the teacher’s negligence for not providing that the children’s dad items that could cause harm. In summary, all schools should operate based on rules and regulations that are not conflicting with the provisions of the Irish Constitution and other legislation.

EU law

The EU laws are applicable in the European countries. The laws are considered to be superior to the provisions of the laws in the member states. The European Commission adopted rules and regulations to be implemented by member states. The rules are implemented at the national level unless the national authorities fail to implement the provisions effectively. Such failure can result in the institution of a complaint to the European Commission.

The European Court of Justice is the supreme court of the European Union. The decision made by this court is considered final. The matters taken to this court are also of a high magnitude as compared to those that deal with national constitutional laws. Some of the EU laws are implemented through the formation of treaties.

In conclusion, the sources of law are the key pillars of the implementation and interpretation of the law. Various provisions of the law govern the education sector. International organizations such as the UN are concerned with the application of free primary education.

The Irish constitution provides that parents have the opportunity to choose a school for their children. The disabled children have an equal opportunity as far as education is concerned. The sources of law aimed at protecting the rights of children.

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