Secular Sunday #217 - Make It Count || 21 February, 2016
Secular Sunday - Atheist Ireland's weekly newsletter
Derek Walsh
This will be the last time that I nag you about voting for the foreseeable future. By this time next week, we'll be dealing with a new government, for better or for worse. To play some part in trying to make sure it's better, make sure you vote on Friday if you can, and make sure you know which of the candidates most closely align with your principles. is an invaluable resource for telling you what constituency you live in (something you should have figured out by now), what candidates are running and what views they hold based on their records in the Dáil or on policy statements. Good luck, and try not to be too disappointed with the results.

- Derek Walsh, Editor


Inter Belief Dialogue

Jane Donnelly and Michael Nugent took part in a very positive Inter Belief Dialogue conference in Mary Immaculate College Limerick on Wednesday. There were representatives from the NCCA, which is currently preparing a State course for primary schools about religion, beliefs and ethics, as well as speakers from various religious and nonreligious perspectives. Read more

UN Human Rights Council

Atheist Ireland has been selected to speak at a pre-session meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva in March, as part of the lead-up to the Human Rights Council questioning Ireland about its human rights record in May. Read more

Freethought Friday

Atheist Ireland's Regional Officer Ashling O'Brien has recently joined Ciarán Ó Floinn and Robert Coyle as co-host on the Freethought Friday podcast. The last two episodes contain an interview with Michael Nugent (part 1, part 2)


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 5 March, 12:00 noon - 2:00 pm, GPO, O’Connell St., Dublin 1 (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.

Saturday 5 March, 3:30 pm, Ashling Hotel, Parkgate St., Dublin 8 (map)
Atheist Ireland hosts Aron Ra, Texas State Director of American Atheists. Event page


Sunday 28 February, 11:30 am - 4:00 pm,ILAS Building,  NUI Galway (map)
End of Life Issues Symposium organised by the Humanists West branch of the Humanist Association of Ireland. Email Bridget Carlin for details and to book a place. €5 contribution per person requested.

This Week in History

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

21 February

1848: Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels publish The Communist Manifesto

22 February

1632: Galileo's Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems is published.

23 February

1455: Traditional date for the publication of the Gutenberg Bible, the first Western book printed with movable type.

1954: The first mass inoculation of children against polio with the Salk vaccine begins in Pittsburgh.


24 February

1955: Steve Jobs (d. 2011). American businessman, co-founded Apple Inc. and Pixar.

27 February

Derren Brown1971: Derren Brown. English psychological illusionist, mentalist, and skeptic of paranormal phenomena.
"One can be a true believer in anything: psychic ability, Christianity or, as Bertrand Russell classically suggested (with irony), in the fact there is a teapot orbiting the earth. I could believe any of those things with total conviction. But my conviction doesn't make them true. Indeed, it is something of an insult to the very truth I might hold dear to say that something is true just because I believe it is."




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

Is this the most awful man in Ireland?

by Ashling O'Brien

Ashling O'BrienThis is Michael Nugent. Is he the most awful man in Ireland? Well if we were to believe recent comments on social media the answer would appear to be ‘yes’.
Michael has, in the past, documented a litany of defamatory smears made against him including being called a racist for pointing out that the Catholic Church now has most of its power base in the Southern hemisphere, being associated with a fascist group from 1930's Ireland, defending and providing a haven for harassers, misogynists and rapists and of being a champion of horrible people, a monster, actually crazy, and a weird obsessive crazy person. These are just some the smears that Michael has documented himself on his blog, there have been many more which have gone undocumented and uncommented upon on twitter, in the comments section of his blog and on both his own Facebook page and on that of Atheist Ireland. Read more

(More on the smears and subsequent events can be found on Michael's own blog.)

On Being A Single Issue Voter

by Paul WS Bowler

Paul WS BowlerI've never had much time for 'single issue voters.' They've always struck me as irredeemably parochial, worthy even of contempt. An unfortunate point of view, considering I now find myself choosing to be a single issue voter. Yes, in this general election I'm voting on a candidate's position on repealing the Eighth Amendment and their pro-choice credentials. I'm not comfortable about it. I know it's an issue that affects 51% of the population, all across the country, so technically it isn't merely a local issue, but it still feels strange to be that voter. 
It is especially weird as I am still in Fine Gael. I supported them at the last election and had envisaged canvassing for them in this election. And truth be told, there is part of me that hopes they still end up leading the next government. Though that is based more on the paucity of credible alternatives than any affection or faith in Fine Gael.  Read more

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