The Oireachtas joint Committee on Education has concluded that multiple patronage and ethos as a basis for policy can lead to segregation and inequality in the education system, and that the objectives of admission policy should be equality and integration.
This reflects the arguments made by Atheist Ireland to the Committee, both in our written submission and in the presentation by Jane Donnelly to the Committee hearings last December, about the new Bill on admission to schools that the Committee was considering.
This is a significant and strongly-worded conclusion, that contrasts the current segregation and inequality with the objective of equality and integration. This conclusion goes to the heart of the religious discrimination in the Irish education system. The Minister should take it seriously, and act on it.
Access to a local school without religious discrimination is a human right, and Ireland is in breach of its international obligations by permitting this religious discrimination. This religious discrimination disrespects the philosophical convictions of secular parents and their children and treats them as second class citizens.
BenBaz Aziz, the Egyptian atheist who is now free after a year in prison in Kuwait on blasphemy charges, will be writing articles about secularism, atheism, human rights and related issues for Atheist Ireland and this website.
This is his first article, ‘Why are they so afraid of freedom of speech?’
There is big similarity between fair judge and smart voter, as both of them never make a decision until they hear to all parties. This means the guarantee of freedom of speech is essential for every party so that he can explain his case. Subsequently, this would ensure fair trials and successful democracy.
What if the judge gave that right to one party and took it away from the other one? Don’t we call him unfair judge? In Middle East the society is like that unfair judge. And the democracy here is even worse. They allow freedom of speech for who raises the banner of religion, customs and traditions.
Today’s Irish court judgment, in which Waterford man Gerald Vollrath was given a suspended sentence for attempting to murder his dying mother in a nursing home, shows the type of tragedy that will inevitably occur when we criminalize something that is morally good, and indeed that some people see as a moral obligation, which is helping a dying loved one to avoid unnecessary suffering.
Gerald Volrath is not a doctor or a lawyer or a criminal. He is an aviation worker, with no knowledge or desire to help somebody die, and no desire to break the law and become a criminal. He was watching his dying mother suffer unbearably from a severe stroke, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, heart and kidney problems. She was already receiving end-of-life care, and he did what his conscience told him was the morally right thing to do.
I spoke last Wednesday at Trinity College Dublin’s Historical Society at a debate on whether the Catholic Church can be salvaged, along with Jerry Buttimer TD, Father Tony Flannery and Sinead O’Connor. Here is my contribution: As always, thank you for inviting me. I can think of no better way to spend Darwin Day than [...]
The Iona Institute creates the impression, on its website and in its media pronouncements, that it is a quasi-academic and objective think-tank, and that it promotes various causes on the basis that they are good for society. For example, it claims to oppose same-sex marriage not on the basis of religious teachings, but on the [...]
I have just received the good news that Abdel Aziz Mohamed Albaz, also known as Ben Baz, has been released from prison in Kuwait where he has been held for a year on charges of blasphemy. He would like to thank everybody who campaigned on his behalf. For further news see his Facebook page. Ben [...]
John Buckley, artist and poet and member of Atheist Ireland, died of cancer on 28 January 2014. He was 67. Today his family and friends gathered in Limerick to celebrate his remarkable life. I and Jane Donnelly made the following contributions to this celebration in memory of John. Tribute by Michael Nugent to John Buckley [...]
This week’s European Court judgment in the Louise O’Keeffe case changes everything in the campaign for secular education in Ireland. The State was arguing that it was not responsible for protecting Louise O’Keeffe’s human rights while she was in school, because the State did not run the school directly. The European Court has now told [...]