Conference to explore young people’s attitudes to religion and education

07 Jun 2018

A conference exploring new research which gives a voice to young people at post-primary level on religion, education, religious diversity and religious education will take place this weekend, 8 and 9 June, in Dublin City University.  It will offer space for those interested in religious education in Ireland to hear what young people, at both junior and senior cycle, are saying, and respond from their varied interests and perspectives.

According to Dr Gareth Byrne, Associate Professor of Religious Education, DCU Institute of Education, “Our conference is for all those interested in knowing what young people have been saying about religious experience, the impact of religion in their lives and the significance of religious education in schools.  The growth in religious diversity in Ireland is a particular focus.  Data gathered in both the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland, highlighting Catholic, Protestant and other responses, will be discussed. Opportunities will be provided for participants to reflect on the significance of this material for their own educational context.”

The Irish Centre for Religious Education (ICRE), in association with the Mater Dei Centre for Catholic Education (MDCCE), will host this conference which is entitled ‘The Voices of Young People in Religion and Education: Research, Policy and Impact’, and it will take place in the DCU Institute of Education, Saint Patrick’s Campus, Drumcondra. 

Presenters will include Prof Jeff Astley (Warwick), Dr Gareth Byrne (MDCCE), Dr Sandra Cullen (ICRE), Prof Leslie Francis (Warwick), Prof Andrew McGrady (ICRE) and Dr Bernadette Sweetman (EQI).  Opportunities for small-group conversation and participation from the floor are included in the schedule.

The ICRE participates in quantitative and qualitative empirical research into religious education and associated areas in both the Irish and international contexts.  In the past five years a number of large datasets have been established allowing comparative analysis of the attitudes of young people in Ireland to religion, beliefs and values.  The interrogation of these datasets makes a vital contribution to informing our understanding of the religiosity and spirituality of young people in contemporary Ireland as well as their attitude to religious education.

The conference begins with registration at 6.00pm this Friday.  It is free to attend but registration is required online at


For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Katie Crosby 00353 (0) 86 862 3298

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