Stephen-Fry-2Atheist Ireland welcomes the announcement that our decade-long campaign for a referendum on the blasphemy law has been successful.

We will finally be able to vote in October to remove this anachronistic, silly, and dangerous clause from our constitution.

The blasphemy ban is anachronistic, because we should be removing 1930s religious references from the Irish Constitution, not legislating to enforce them.

It is silly because it suggests that the creator of the universe requires the protection of laws passed by the Oireachtas.

And it is dangerous because it infringes on free speech, because it incentivises public outrage, and because Islamist States use it to justify their own blasphemy laws, which they use to persecute and murder members of religious minorities.

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1961 – Elvis Presley – Surrender
1962 – Elvis Presley – Good Luck Charm
1963 – Beatles – From Me To You
1964 – Cilla Black – You’re My World
1965 – Sandie Shaw – Long Live Love
1966 – Frank Sinatra – Strangers In The Night
1967 – Tremeloes – Silence Is Golden
1968 – Union Gap feat. Gary Puckett – Young Girl
1969 – Tommy Roe – Dizzy
1970 – Christie – Yellow River

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Jane Ruth Michael

This referendum sees the fall of the Catholic Berlin Wall that has kept a pluralist Irish people trapped within the laws of a Catholic Irish Constitution.

Pregnant Irish women will now have the same right, to equality before the law, that gay couples have had since the marriage equality vote three years ago.

They will have access to safe, supervised, legal, compassionate healthcare at home, instead of traveling alone to England or buying unregulated abortion pills online.

Atheist Ireland is proud to have worked together for so long, with so many people and groups, in Ireland and at the UN, on this historic campaign for equal rights of pregnant women.

We also respect the position of Atheist Ireland members whose conscientious beliefs caused them to campaign and vote against the referendum.

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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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Why repeal the 8th? Video of the speakers at Atheist Ireland’s Information Evening

May 4, 2018

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 […]

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Atheist Ireland delighted at passing of Solidarity’s Objective Sex Education Bill

April 19, 2018

Atheist 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 […]

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Remembering my late wife Anne Holliday

April 9, 2018

It’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


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