Let’s make this the big one for Otway!

by Michael Nugent on May 19, 2016

I’ve just backed John Otway’s Kickstarter campaign to record a new album on the Caribbean Island of Montserrat. As befitting Rock and Roll’s Greatest Failure, it will be the first album to be recorded by an international recording artist on the island since the Rolling Stones in 1989.

I first saw Otway fall off a set of speakers on the Old Grey Whistle Test when I was at school, and I first saw him play live in Ireland when I was in college. Since then I’ve been indoctrinating decades of friends with Otway’s eclectic eccentricity, hilarious and sensitive lyrics, and cult marketing genius.

His 1977 hit Really Free was for a long time the peak of his career, until his fans united to get him a second hit, Bunsen Burner, for his fiftieth birthday in 2002. His “Beware of the flowers cause I’m sure they’re going to get you, yeah” was voted seventh best lyric ever in a BBC poll.

For his sixtieth birthday in 2012, Otway funded a movie about his career by selling tickets to the premiere before making it. Before that, he nearly crowd-funded a world tour, along with his fans, but he miscalculated the price of hiring the airplane. Now he’s off to Montserrat!

The Kickstarter campaign is here.

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new governmentThis week saw two significant developments that will affect Atheist Ireland’s work in the coming years: the new Programme for Government, and the UN questioning of Ireland’s human rights record under the Universal Periodic Review process.

Atheist Ireland will continue to promote an ethical, secular Ireland as partners in the ongoing dialogue process between the Government and religious and nonreligious philosophical bodies, and in our international briefing and lobbying at the United Nations, European Union, Council of Europe, OSCE and other international human rights bodies.

Here is Atheist Ireland’s response to this week’s developments:

  1. Introduction and overview
  2. How the Government says it will govern
  3. Policy commitments that we welcome
  4. Freedom of religion or belief
  5. The law against Blasphemy
  6. Religious discrimination in schools
  7. The UN and non-denominational schools
  8. Constitutional change

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Should creationists give talks in schools? My debate with creationist John Mackay on BBC Radio yesterday.

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My late dad, the FA Cup and the milk bottle

by Michael Nugent on May 6, 2016

FA-Cup-final-1972Today is my late dad’s birthday. On 6 May 1972 he was 50, on the day Leeds beat Arsenal in the Centenary FA Cup Final, so he was for one day exactly half the age of the FA Cup.

Earlier that year, an angry neighbour confronted my father in an incident that helped to shape my life philosophy. I was ten, and a friend of mine, for no good reason, threw a milk bottle against a neighbour’s house and ran away. I had done nothing wrong, so I didn’t run. The neighbour called to our house and stormed loudly into the hallway.

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Please ask independent TDs to raise religious discrimination with Fine Gael

May 4, 2016

Fine Gael and Fianna Fail have now published their arrangement for Fianna Fail supporting a Fine Gael led minority government. This arrangement does not mention human rights breaches such as religious discrimination in the education system and the need for secular schools, the blasphemy law, religious oaths for political and judicial office, or the State’s […]

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UN to ask Ireland about secular education and blasphemy law, following lobbying by Atheist Ireland

May 3, 2016

The UN will ask Ireland next week about secular education and our blasphemy law, matching recommendations that Atheist Ireland successfully lobbied for in our meetings in Geneva last month. For the first time, Ireland will be specifically asked about replacing the school patronage system with an inclusive secular one. Atheist Ireland highlighted that the Oireachtas Education Committee […]

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TV3 portrays imagined trial of Padraig Pearse, with jury deliberation

April 30, 2016

What might have happened if Padraig Pearse, instead of being executed by the British after the 1916 Rising, had been put on trial before a judge and jury? TV3 is asking this question in a three-part programme this weekend. At 9.15 pm today and tomorrow, they will dramatise this imagined trial, with Love/Hate’s Tom Vaughan-Lawlor […]

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21 great lessons from the Rationalist International Conference in Tallinn

April 28, 2016

Here are 21 great lessons that I learned from each of the speakers at the Rationalist International Conference in Tallinn, Estonia, last weekend.

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Challenges for Atheists and Secularists – my talk at Rationalist Conference in Tallinn, Estonia

April 27, 2016

My talk at the Rationalist International Conference in Tallinn, Estonia, last Sunday. Covers secularism in Ireland, challenging the silencing word Islamophobia, promoting robust civil dialogue, normalising the word atheism, promoting human rights and ethical secular democracy.

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Sunday is Census Day. Tick ‘No Religion’ if you are not religious.

April 21, 2016

This Sunday is Census Day. If you are not religious, tick the No Religion box. Don’t just answer with your childhood religion. The census data is used to support religious discrimination, so please answer the question accurately. Please share this between now and Sunday.

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