Both the houses of Ireland Parliament (Oireachtas) in Dublin, Senate (Seanad Éireann) and House of Representatives (Dáil Éireann), have denied Hindu opening prayer request.
Responding to Hindu opening prayer request of Hindu statesman Rajan Zed; Brian Prunty, Private Secretary to the Ceann Comhairle (Chairperson of Dáil Éireann), wrote: I must inform you that your offer to read a Hindu prayer at the opening of a Dáil sitting is not something which can be facilitated at this time.
Martin Groves, Clerk of Seanad Éireann, replying to Zed’s email request of scheduling him to read the Hindu opening prayer, wrote: Cathaoirleach (Speaker) regrets that he is not in a position to accede to your request.
Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada today, indicated that Ireland was a diverse society now and the Parliament of a parliamentary democracy like Ireland should be representative body of all its citizens, including the minorities.
Oireachtas should realize that we were in 21st century now and re-evaluate the matrix of opening prayers by revising the Standing Orders of Dáil and Seanad, so that prayers of other religions could be read by invited diverse religious leaders, Zed stressed.
Rajan Zed has urged the Seanad Cathaoirleach Denis O’Donovan and Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl to relook into their stand and allow the Hindu invocation at least one time at the beginning of their sitting. He is also urging the Ireland President Michael D. Higgins to intervene.
Zed is also urging Archbishop Eamon Martin, President, Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, for help in this regard to make their prayer request possible; as it seemed much in conformity with Roman Catholic mission and goals of helping others.
If nothing worked, they might consider approaching European Union, of which Ireland was a member; Council of Europe and its Commissioner for Human Rights to persuade Oireachtas for a more inclusive opening prayer, Rajan Zed stated.
Per Standing Orders, “At the commencement of each sitting of the Seanad” and each day “before any business is entered upon” in Dáil, following prayer is read: “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.”
Zed, bestowed with “World Interfaith Leader Award”, has read opening prayers in the United States Senate and US House of Representatives in Washington DC, various State Senates and State Assemblies/Houses-of-Representatives, various County Commissions and City Councils all over USA.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.
In Ireland, the sole and exclusive power of making laws is vested in the Oireachtas. The first meeting of Dáil Éireann took place in 1919.