Secular Sunday #8 – News and Views

Time for another Secular Sunday!

In this issue:

  • News
  • Upcoming Events
  • Opinions


  • Atheist Ireland has sent a letter to all of the members of the respective Committees on Procedure and Privilege of both the Dáil and the Seanad requesting an end to daily prayers in the Oireachtas. Read it here.
  • On Thursday, representatives of Atheist Ireland attended a seminar on racism in the offices of the Irish Human Rights Commission. Ireland has submitted its third report to the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. Atheist Ireland is at present preparing a Submission to the Advisory Committee which is due before the end of March. We intend to challenge the Government Report.
  • On Friday, representatives of Atheist Ireland attended the Twelfth NGO Forum on Human Rights in Dublin Castle, organized by the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs. We raised the cases of Alexander Aan, the Indonesian civil servant facing blasphemy charges because of a comment on Facebook, and of Hamza Kashgari, the Saudi journalist extradited from Malaysia to face blasphemy charges because of a comment on Twitter. It is important for the Irish Government to be made aware of these cases, as Ireland is chairing the OSCE this year, and protection of human rights is one of the issues on the OSCE agenda.

Upcoming Events

  • Monday 20 February, 7:30 pm, Kane Building, University College Cork (map)
    A novel three-way debate on the Catholic Church, Islam and secularism. Brendan O’Neill, editor of Spiked magazine, will argue that the Catholic Church is a force for good. Adnan Rashid, of the Islamic Education and Research Academy, will argue that Islam is a force for good. Michael Nugent will argue that secularism is a force for good. After audience contributions, there will be separate votes on each of three topics, allowing people to vote for whatever permutations of the three arguments they agree with. The debate is jointly organised by the UCC Philosophical, Atheist and Muslim Societies, and anybody is welcome to attend.
  • Friday 24 February 2012, 7:00 pm, J. M. Synge Lecture Theatre, Arts Building, Trinity College, Dublin 2 (map)
    The annual Darwin Day Lecture, as arranged by the Humanist Association of Ireland, will be given this year by Dr Stephen Oppenheimer,of the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Oxford, on the subject: “Tracking Migrations with DNA: relevance to Britain and Ireland”. All are welcome.


Here are a few opinions on recent events from Irish atheists. They are not necessarily the views of Atheist Ireland and in some cases will be the exact opposite of those of the majority of our members, but they’re no less interesting for that.

  • Geoff’s Shorts was present at the recent debate in DIT between Michael Nugent and Hamza Tzortzis. He live tweeted the event and then expanded his thoughts into a blog post.
  • datbeardyman takes issue with calls for the government to stop First Communion payments to poor families. He also has an opinion on the prospect of a Papal visit to Ireland.
  • The irascible Ian O’Doherty wants a new faith: Common Sense

That’s all for another week. If you have an opinion you want to share, why not visit our forum or join our Facebook group? If you’ve written – or just read – something that you think may be of interest to our readers, send us an email and we may include it in a future issue.

Till next Sunday,

Derek Walsh
Editor, Secular Sunday
Atheist Ireland

Secular Sunday