Secular Sunday #215 - Common Ground || 7 February, 2016
Secular Sunday - Atheist Ireland's weekly newsletter
Derek Walsh
A Christian, a Muslim and an atheist walk into a bar. That's not the start of a joke but the lineup for a pre-election meeting to be held in Dublin this Thursday. (See Calendar section below.) Atheist Ireland has always advocated secularism - the separation of religion and state - and maintained that such separation benefits everyone, not just the non-religious.
The long awaited General Election has been called, and will take place on Friday 26 February. If you're still not registered to vote, you have until close of business Tuesday 9 February to be added to the supplementary register. So get cracking!

- Derek Walsh, Editor


UN Report

A report by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has concluded that Ireland should significantly increase the availability of non-denominational or multi-denominational schools, eliminate discrimination in school admissions including by amending the Equal Status Act, and ensure accessible options for children to opt-out of religious classes.
Atheist Ireland was in Geneva in January when the UN Committee was questioning Ireland, and we highlighted the State’s attempt to mislead the Committee about the Minister for Education’s intentions to change the Equal Status Act. Read more



Upcoming Events

All events are free and open to everyone unless otherwise stated. Listing is not necessarily an endorsement. Listings sorted alphabetically by county, then chronologically.
Major international events in 2016 can be found at the World Secular Calendar.



Saturday 20 February, 12:00 noon - 2:00 pm, outside Brown Thomas, Patrick St., Cork (map)
Atheist Ireland Information Table. Feel free to drop by if you have any questions about atheism or on the work Atheist Ireland do. Anyone who is interested in volunteering at the table is also more than welcome. Event page

Saturday 20 February, 2:30 pm, Kudos Restaurant, Clarion Hotel, Lapp's Quay, Cork (map)
Atheist Ireland Lunch. A family-friendly social event. Event page


Sunday 21 February, 12:00 noon, Mount Errigal Hotel, Ballyraine, Letterkenny (map)
Atheist Ireland Brunch. Meet atheists in Donegal in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Event page


Thursday 11 February, 7:30 pm, Wynn's Hotel, Abbey St., Dublin 1 (map)
Pre-General Election Public Meeting. Atheists, Evangelicals and Ahmadiyya Muslims for Separation of Religion and State in Ireland.
Michael Nugent and Jane Donnelly  of Atheist Ireland will be joined by Nick Park, National Bishop of the Church of God in Ireland and Executive Director of the Evangelical Alliance of Ireland; and Ibrahim Noonan, Imam of Galway Ahmadiyya Mosque, Vice National President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Ireland and Missionary-In-Charge of Ireland.
They will discuss how secularism protects the human rights of all citizens, why the campaign to separate Religion and State is important and how the school patronage system discriminates against atheists and members of minority religions. Event page

Sunday 14 February, 1:00 pm, Trinity City Hotel, Pearse St., Dublin 2 (map)
Atheist Ireland Brunch. Meet atheists in Dublin in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Event page


Sunday 14 February, 12:00 noon, Gally's Bar and Restaurant, Castlemaine Road, Tralee (map)
Atheist Ireland Brunch. Meet atheists in Kerry in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Event page


Wednesday 17 February, 8:00 pm, Absolute Hotel, Sir Harry's Mall, Limerick (map)
The Mid West Humanists will meet. (Ask at the hotel reception for a card key to get up the lift to the meeting, which is usually on the third floor. Stairs also available) The Mid West Humanists are now on Facebook and Twitter.


Sunday 14 February, 1:00 pm, A Casa Mia, Tobergal Lane, Sligo (map)
Atheist Ireland Brunch. A family-friendly social event. Event page



12 February

Red Hand Day. A day to recognise the plight of child soldiers, children forced to serve in wars and other armed conflicts.

Darwin Day. A celebration of the life and work of the man whose theory of evolution by natural selection forms the foundation of modern biology.



This Week in History

Anniversaries of momentous events in atheism, science, skepticism, secularism and human rights, plundered shamelessly from Wikipedia and other sources.

10 February

1996: The IBM supercomputer Deep Blue defeats Garry Kasparov in chess for the first time.

11 February

1990: Nelson Mandela is released from Victor Verster Prison outside Cape Town, South Africa after 27 years as a political prisoner.


11 February

1847: Thomas Edison  (d. 1931) American businessman, invented the light bulb and phonograph

1923: Antony Flew (d. 2010). English philosopher. An atheist and a strong advocate for atheism. In his later years he became a deist.

12 February

Charles Darwin1809: Charles Darwin (d. 1882). English scientist and theorist who demonstrated that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestors, and proposed that this evolution is due to a process he called natural selection. All of his writings can be found at Darwin Online

1948: Ray Kurzweil, American engineer, author and futurist. Advocate of transhumanism


Material collected from the Irish atheist blogosphere and beyond; used without permission, compensation, liability, guarantee or implied endorsement.

A Secular Vision Includes Everyone

by Sabina Brennan

Sabina BrennanIn a letter published in the Irish Times Fr Gregory O’Brien PP (28/1/16) blames homelessness, suicide and increasing violence in Ireland on society’s move away from a Christian vision based on dignity and the inviolability of the individual towards a Secular vision. He says this Secular vision is based on an individual’s unbridled freedom to do what they please.
In the interests of moving away from blame and segregation and towards solutions and inclusion, I would like to articulate the Secularist vision for society.
Secularism, is not as Fr O’Brien suggests, about moving away from religion it is concerned, instead, with religious neutrality.
Secularists want the state to be neutral on matters of religion, endorsing neither one religion or another.  Secularists want separation of church and state. In an Irish context Secularists believe that our Constitution should not contain any religious references. In addition, Secularists believe that the state should not fund religious schools or atheist schools for that matter. Instead Secularists  believe that the state should simply fund schools that respect equally the rights of all children, parents and teachers from all religions and none. Read more

Willie O’Dea does battle with Satan

by Bock the Robber

Bock the RobberRenowned local political exorcist, Willie O’Dea, took up the cause of a woman who was concerned about the PPS number containing the digits 666 which was issued to her new baby.
It was satanic, according to the mother, and Willie is famous for his opposition to Satan. Willie, in fact, is as hard on Satan as he is on Blueshirts and so, like the fearless parliamentarian he is, he took the matter to the Department of Social Protection.
And twice, the Department told him to begone. A curse on your moustache, they said. Read more

Media Watch

News and views from Ireland and around the world



Copyright © 2016 Atheist Ireland, All rights reserved.