AllianceMinister for Education Richard Bruton has announced plans to prohibit State-funded primary schools run by the Catholic Church from discriminating in access on the ground of religion, but which will allow State-funded schools run by minority religions to continue to discriminate on the ground of religion if they are oversubscribed.

Atheist Ireland, the Evangelical Alliance of Ireland, and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Ireland, welcome the first part of this announcement. Despite our very different world views, we campaign together for a State-funded secular education system that respects equally everybody’s constitutional and human rights in our schools.

This welcome development is part of a pattern of Irish Governments starting to address the breaches in our schools of the rights of secular and minority faith students. Recently, as a result of our intensive campaigning over many years on a human rights basis:

  • Parents and students are now more aware of their constitutional and human rights to not be discriminated against;
  • Schools are no longer legally obliged to integrate religion throughout the school day;
  • ETB second level schools must now give pupils a timetabled alternative to religion;
  • The majority of primary schools will now have to stop discriminating on the ground of religion in access to schools;
  • Also, under this Bill, schools will have to tell parents what their arrangements are for opting out of religion.

However, these welcome developments on their own will not end the breaches of constitutional and human rights in our schools. Contrary to caricature slogans, this issue is not about baptism certs. It is about changing the culture of our schools. It is about respecting the fundamental human rights principle of the right to equal participation in all aspects of State-funded schools for all children, regardless of the religious or nonreligious beliefs of their parents.

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AI Why Repeal speakers

Are you still undecided about the referendum? Do you want to know more about the history of the amendment, medical issues, views from maternity services and the rape crisis network, and the practicalities of canvassing?

Atheist Ireland held an Information Evening yesterday about why we should repeal the eighth amendment, with expert speakers on all of these issues. Here is video of the six speakers at the event:

  • Ashling O’Brien of Atheist Ireland introducing the speakers
  • Treasa McVeigh of Together For Yes talking about the history of the amendment
  • Dr Mark Murphy of Doctors For Choice talking about medical issues
  • Dr Krysia Lynch, Chair of AIMS (Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services)
  • Dr Cliona Saidléar, Executive Director of the Rape Crisis Network Ireland
  • Bernadette Grogan of Together For Yes talking about canvassing for repeal

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Sex Ed BillAtheist Ireland is delighted that Solidarity’s Objective Sex Education Bill has passed its first vote today in the Dail. It will now go on to be debated at Committee stage.

Along with our allies in other groups who support this Bill, we will now lobby members of the Oireachtas Education Committee to ensure that the Bill passes the further stages required to become law.

The Bill is supported by Atheist Ireland, the Rape Crisis Network, the National Women’s Council, the Irish Family Planning Association, LGBTQI+ advocacy group ShoutOut, and the Union of Students in Ireland.

Atheist Ireland raised this issue last year at the United Nations, who recommended that Ireland should introduce compulsory scientifically objective sex education into school curricula.

Atheist Ireland supports Solidarity’s repeated political initiatives to bring about an ethical secular state where everybody’s rights are equally respected.

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Remembering my late wife Anne Holliday

by Michael Nugent on April 9, 2018

MN AHIt’s seven years today since my wife Anne died. I’m also remembering John Buckley today. We were talking over lunch about his cancer just before I got news that Anne died.

Here’s the tribute I wrote to Anne after she died.

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Irish Catholic Bishops to run a candidate for President

April 1, 2018

The Irish Catholic Bishops are planning to run a candidate for President of Ireland this year. Leaked documents reveal that the Bishops are divided between proposing Catholic Primate Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, or independent Catholic Senator Ronan Mullen. The Bishops have secured the required nominations from members of the Oireachtas. Catholic clerics have already […]

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This Friday in Dublin, come to the first ever Good Friday Atheists in the Pub session!

March 27, 2018

This Friday, for the first time in nearly a century, Irish pubs will be allowed to open on Good Friday. If you are in Dublin, please join us for the first ever Good Friday Atheists in the Pub session, from 8pm in the Hairy Lemon on Lower Stephen Street. There is a Facebook event page […]

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Abortion would already be legal if any Taoiseach had needed one

February 24, 2018

#RepealThe8th

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Atheist Ireland welcomes proposed opt-out from religious instruction in ETB schools

February 14, 2018

Finally, in ETB schools, a proper opt-out from religion seems about to happen, with alternative subjects being offered at the start of the year, based on proposals that Atheist Ireland has been intensively lobbying for in recent years. The Irish Times has seen records of a coming Ministerial Circular that Atheist Ireland first asked the […]

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Religious discrimination against women in Ireland – Jane Donnelly in La Raison magazine

February 11, 2018

Atheist Ireland works internationally, as members of Atheist Alliance International and the International Humanist and Ethical Union. We also work directly with atheist and secular groups in other countries, to share information and to help each other to achieve separation of church and state. The February 2018 edition of La Raison, the magazine of the […]

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Leeds United centenary badge designs

January 29, 2018

Given the recent controversy about the new proposed centenary badge for Leeds United, here are two ideas based on the three main shirt colours of the club during the century.

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