Higgins President 2Yet again Ireland is to hold a Presidential election that excludes conscientious atheists as candidates, as in order to take office we would have to swear a religious oath that is in our Constitution. This would force us to dissemble about our beliefs, and breaches our human right to freedom of conscience and belief.

The oath that the new President must swear is:

“In the presence of Almighty God, I do solemnly and sincerely promise and declare that I will maintain the Constitution of Ireland and uphold its laws, that I will fulfil my duties faithfully and conscientiously in accordance with the Constitution and the law, and that I will dedicate my abilities to the service and welfare of the people of Ireland. May God direct and sustain me.”

If instead, in order to become President, the Constitution required that a winning candidate had to swear that there is no God, everybody would immediately realise that this would be a breach of their rights. But there is a blind spot when the discrimination is the other way around.

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M & J Geneva 2Atheist Ireland welcomes the published wording of the proposed amendment of the Constitution on around 25 October to repeal the offence of blasphemy.

Atheist Ireland will be meeting this afternoon with officials in the Department of Justice, to clarify any technical or logistical questions that we have.

We will then commence our fourteen-week campaign in support of repealing the offence. We have already held an initial planning meeting in Galway with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Ireland, who also support repeal.

We support the right of everybody to hold their religious or nonreligious beliefs, and to have their safety as individuals protected by the law. We also support the right of everybody to criticise the content of religious or nonreligious beliefs.

If you would like to help with our campaign, please email us at humanrights@atheist.ie.

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MN WC Final 1998 2Twenty years ago this weekend, my wife Anne and I were in Paris to watch the 1998 World Cup final. It remains the culmination of my football-watching life. Nothing since has matched the scale of the atmosphere of seeing the inspired French defeat the magical Brazilians before a passionate home crowd to capture the world’s biggest sporting prize.

Our day had two unexpected moments. Traveling across on the Eurostar train, we were woken from our snoozing by a loud Scottish voice asking about tickets. I assumed it was a ticket inspector. It was a drunk Tommy Docherty, the former Manchester United manager. He wanted to watch the final somewhere in Paris, and was optimistically asking passengers if they had spare tickets.

I wore a nostalgia-trip outfit of my plain white early seventies Leeds shirt with the blue-stitched owl badge, topped off with my old red-and-white Bohemians scarf. That outfit caused the French police to search me at the railway station, and when I caught up with my wife Anne she was sitting on the ground, chatting to former England World Cup winner Nobby Stiles about his visits to Dublin. Anne photographed Nobby autographing my match programme.

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AllianceThe Education (Admissions to Schools) Bill has now passed in the Dail. From September the vast majority of schools will no longer be able to discriminate in entry on the grounds of religion. However, minority religious schools can still continue to discriminate as they still have exemptions from equality laws.

Atheist Ireland has been campaigning for ten years to remove this religious discrimination, since we were founded in 2008. We have raised it repeatedly with the Irish Government, at the United Nations, and with other human rights regulatory bodies. We therefore welcome part but not all of this Bill.

Atheist Ireland will continue to campaign to remove all religious discrimination in publicly funded schools in Ireland, in the four areas of our Schools Equality PACT — Patronage, Access, Curriculum, and Teaching. It is essential that all four of these areas are tackled simultaneously. This requires amendment of the Education Act and other Acts.

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Remembering Joe Davis, who died this week

July 8, 2018

Joe Davis, one of Atheist Ireland’s earliest and most-loved members, died this week. For most of his life, he felt like an outsider as an atheist living in Ireland, and he was delighted to have found a like-minded community when Atheist Ireland was founded a decade ago. We were delighted to have had the privilege […]

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Atheist Ireland welcomes blasphemy referendum in October

June 12, 2018

Atheist 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 […]

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The number one song on my birthday, 1st June, every year since I was born

June 1, 2018

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 […]

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Abortion vote sees fall of Ireland’s Catholic Berlin Wall

May 27, 2018

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 […]

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Atheist Ireland, Evangelical Alliance, and Ahmadi Muslims welcome plan to end religious discrimination in access to schools

May 9, 2018

Minister 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 […]

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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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