Michael Jane AI Report

The Irish Times and RTE have reported on yesterday’s launch of Atheist Ireland’s review of the State Religious Education curriculum in second level schools.

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Sec Alliance 5

As part of our unique inter-belief alliance for secularism, Atheist Ireland, Irish Ahmadiyya Muslims and Evangelical Alliance of Ireland today jointly called for end to religious discrimination in Irish second level schools. The call was made at the launch of a major new Atheist Ireland report on how the State Religious Education course breaches human and constitutional rights.

We each respect that we have very different world-views as atheists, Muslims and Evangelicals. We also agree that each person should be treated with respect, our right to hold our beliefs should be treated with respect, and the State should treat us all equally before the law by remaining neutral between religious and nonreligious beliefs. That is what a true Republic should looks like.

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AI Report Court and Smith

Atheist Ireland today launched a major report on how the State Religious 
Education course at second level breaches human
 and Constitutional rights. It is one of our most comprehensive projects to date.

You can download the full report as a (large 92-page) PDF file here.

Summary

In recent months, Atheist Ireland has researched hundreds of documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act from the NCCA (National Council for Curriculum and Assessment) about how it devised the State Religious Education course. This research supports the case that Atheist Ireland has been making for years:

  • That the State second level Religious Education course disrespects the philosophical convictions of atheist, secular and minority faith families and that, contrary to Article 42.1 of the Constitution, it discriminates against these families.
  • That State-funded Irish schools are illegally forcing children of atheist, secular and minority faith families, into Religious Instruction and Catholic faith formation, contrary to Article 44.2.4 of the Constitution, and several human rights treaties that Ireland has signed up to.

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Boris on BookshelfI went to Tolka Park yesterday to watch Leeds play Shelbourne, and I was sad to see how much the ground has declined. The club clearly has no money for proper maintenance, and the seats at the Ballybough end of the ground, and at either side of the Riverside Stand, are all either removed or dismantled.

That said, I remember when the Ballybough end had a pile of mud instead of seats, and we used to enjoy watching matches from that dubious vantage point.

But most of all the visit reminded me of the late Ollie Byrne, the former owner of Shelbourne football club, and his role in helping my late wife and me to find our cat Boris when he went missing about a decade ago.

I’ve written about this before, but it is worth retelling.

One of my cats is called Boris, because he looks like Boris Johnson. He is the most friendly cat ever, and everyone in the area loves him. But when Boris was a kitten, he got lost on Christmas day while we were visiting my parents.

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Atheist Ireland supports campaign for UK Government to investigate Sharia bodies

July 4, 2016

Atheist Ireland is among many women’s rights organisations and campaigners from Britain and internationally who have today submitted a letter to the United Kingdom Home Secretary raising serious concerns about the UK Government’s ‘independent review’ into Sharia courts in Britain. The letter states that the limited scope of inquiry and its inappropriate theological approach will do nothing to address […]

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Atheist Ireland and Atheist Northern Ireland at Belfast pro-choice march

July 3, 2016

Atheist Ireland and Atheist Northern Ireland both took part in today’s pro-choice march in Belfast. Despite the omnipresent Belfast rain, it was a great day which is one more step towards the eventual legalisation of abortion in both Ireland and Northern Ireland. Keep up the pressure!

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67 Reasons why condoms spread AIDS

July 1, 2016

Operation house-clean has uncovered another gem – a bizarre political lobbying booklet from 1991 titled 67 Reasons why Condoms Spread AIDS. My late wife Anne then worked in the Dail, and she rememberers batches of them being delivered to every TD and Senator. It was an expensively produced booklet published by a group called the […]

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HEA to enforce Atheist Ireland recommendations on 3rd level chaplains

June 30, 2016

Atheist Ireland is pleased to announce a successful outcome to our two year campaign to make the appointment procedure for third level college chaplains publicly accountable and open to lay people. We brought Freedom of Information data to the Minister for Education, who responded by instructing the Higher Education Authority to investigate further. Atheist Ireland then […]

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The decline in the Catholic church – my interview on 96FM

June 25, 2016

As a church closed in Cork because of a lack of priests, I discussed the decline in the Catholic church on Cork’s 96FM.

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Religion and atheism in Ireland – my interview in Charlie Hebdo

June 22, 2016

I recently did this interview with Charlie Hebdo magazine about religion and atheism in Ireland. Click on the image for a larger and more readable version. I’ll get an English translation online as soon as I can.

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