euromoneyAmnesty International Ireland is refusing to obey the law on funding of political purposes. They are refusing to return an illegal donation from America to help to repeal the eighth amendment. Amnesty is mistaken in taking this position, both ethically and practically.

Atheist Ireland is also a civil society body. We also promote human rights, including repeal of the eighth amendment. Our fundraising is also restricted by this law. Despite this, we support the law. We believe that it should be strengthened not subverted.

The SIPO law exists to ensure that good arguments can be heard because of their merits, and not get drowned out by those who happen to have the wealthiest supporters. Civil society bodies should welcome measures to prevent Ireland from becoming a plutocracy.

We should strengthen this law, to ensure that our democracy is more a battle of ideas than a battle of bank accounts. We should resist attempts to weaken it, by subverting its ability to regulate the influence of money on political decisions between elections.

Atheist Ireland today published a comprehgensive report about this law.

You can read the report here.

{ 0 comments }

Freedom of Thought MapThe 2017 Freedom of Thought Report has listed seven countries where atheists, humanists and other nonreligious people are actively persecuted. They are India, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.

The Report also concludes that there is systemic religious discrimination in Ireland, including through the blasphemy law, religious oaths for public office, and the state-funded national school system discriminating in patronage, access, curriculum and teaching.

The Report is published annually by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), of which Atheist Ireland is a member. The Report will be launched today, Tuesday 5 December, at the European Parliament, at an event hosted by the Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Right to Die Ireland addresses Oireachtas Justice Committee

by Michael Nugent on November 22, 2017

Tom marieRight to Die Ireland today addressed the Oireachtas Justice Committee on the question of assisted dying. Here is our opening statement by Tom Curran, pictured above with his late partner Marie Fleming.

“Some people want to eke out every second of life, no matter how grim.
And that is their right.
Some people don’t.
And that should be their right.”

This is a quote from an American Journalist called Betty Rolland from the 1990’s after she was diagnosed with incurable cancer. To me, this sums up what the Right to Die is all about. It’s about choice. It’s about the ability to make decisions about your own end of life situation to possibly avoid a prolonged, painful and distressing death. It is commonly accepted that people have the right to live their life as they choose, providing they don’t do anyone else harm. So why should a person not have the right to make decisions about the manner of their own death?

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Alliance-and-CommissionerThis is a joint submission made to the NCCA consultation process on Junior Cycle Religious Education from:

  • Michael Nugent and Jane Donnelly, Atheist Ireland
  • Imam Ibrahim Noonan, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Ireland
  • Pastor Nick Park, Executive Director, Evangelical Alliance of Ireland

Contents

1. Introduction

1.1 The course should be renamed ‘Education about Religions and Beliefs’
1.2 The course does not respect parents’ philosophical convictions
1.3 The course does not respect the right to privacy
1.4 The State course is combined with Catholic Religious Instruction and Worship

2. The NCCA has a legal obligation to promote human rights

2.1 The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission has a statutory function in relation to public bodies such as the NCCA
2.2 The NCCA has legal obligations under the Education Act 1998

3. Some observations on the NCCA background paper

3.1 The NCCA background paper and Human Rights
3.2 The NCCA background paper and Morality and Spirituality
3.3 The NCCA background paper and School Patronage

4. Attachments

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Reports and book launch from Atheist Ireland AGM

November 20, 2017

Here are two videos from the Atheist Ireland AGM this weekend in Galway. The first is my opening report as chairperson, and Jane Donnelly’s opening report as human rights officer. The second is the launch of our new book for children about freedom of religion and belief.

Read the full article →

Atheist Ireland launches new book for children at AGM

November 18, 2017

Atheist Ireland is today launching an illustrated book for children about freedom of religion and belief. It will be launched at 3pm in the Harbour Hotel, Galway, after our AGM this morning in the same venue. The book is titled ‘Is My Family Odd About Gods?’ It does not ask children to believe that atheism […]

Read the full article →

Atheist Ireland proposes changes to religion question for census 2021

November 3, 2017

Atheist Ireland has proposed changes to the religion question in the Irish census in 2021. We will be taking part in discussions about this on a subgroup of the census advisory group. Our proposals are that the question should be optional, should ask whether people practice a religion, should not prejudice the answer with preprinted […]

Read the full article →

Education Minister responds to Atheist Ireland FOI documents; promises new guidelines on opting out of religion

October 23, 2017

Atheist Ireland has written to the Minister for Education seeking an input into the new guidelines that he has committed to issuing for children opting out of religion classes in State-run ETB schools. The Minister was responding to questions by RTE’s Emma O’Kelly about documents that Atheist Ireland obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. […]

Read the full article →

Census report shows more nonreligious than all minority religions combined

October 12, 2017

Atheist Ireland welcomes today’s census report on religion published by the Central Statistics Office. We are increasingly optimistic that a secular Ireland is inevitable, free of religious privilege and religious discrimination against any citizens. The census results on religion broke a significant barrier – more Irish people now have no religion (468,400) than members of […]

Read the full article →

Ending blasphemy laws in Ireland and Pakistan – my talk at TCD Law Review Panel

October 5, 2017

I gave this talk yesterday at the TCD Law Review Panel. The other speakers were Dr Ali Selim, William Richardson and Neville Cox. I will start by welcoming that the Government is finally proposing a date for a referendum to remove the offence of blasphemy from our Constitution, nearly a decade after Dermot Ahern surprised […]

Read the full article →