Secular Sunday #51 – Civil Discourse

It’s time for this week’s Secular Sunday! In this issue:

  • News
  • Upcoming Events
  • B


  • The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) is running an Anti-Discrimination Law Review Project with an Advisory Group made up of representatives of various minority groups. In October, Atheist Ireland wrote to the ICCL pointing out the absence of an advocate for people discriminated against on the grounds of religion, and requesting to be included in the Advisory Group. We also pointed out the inappropriateness of having a representative of the Catholic Church on such a group. The ICCL rejected our request, and despite several requests, did not agree to meet with us or provide a detailed written response on the matter. Earlier this week, we published an open letter to them. This provoked a response from ICCL’s director Mark Kelly claiming it was “seriously inaccurate”, which was followed by an official five-page letter detailing the alleged inaccuracies. We have responded here. We still hope to work with the ICCL as this is an important and generally well-structured initiative, but one that we believe could be improved by including an advocate for victims of religious discrimination.
  • Some results from the 2011 UK census have been released showing the breakdown by religion in Northern Ireland. More than 10% of the population had no religion. Belfast Skeptics report in more detail, while Atheism: Northern Ireland have a nice infographic with the key figures.
  • A less formal census, AAI’s Atheist Census is back online. If you haven’t already registered, you can do so now. And you can see the numbers and breakdown by country so far.

Upcoming Events

  • Monday 17 December, 8:30 pm, McSwiggans Bar and Restaurant, Woodquay, Galway (map) Galway Skeptics in the Pub – “The Terrifying World of the Pre-Apocalypse” Facebook event page
  • Wednesday 19 December, 8:00 pm, Absolute Hotel, Sir Harry’s Mall, Limerick (map) The Mid-west Humanists will be meeting. As well as old and new attendees (new people always welcome) getting to talk about life as an atheist or humanist in a society with a religious-biased culture, they are continuing their plan to meet TDs in the region, on the Constitution, starting when the Blasphemy article arises in the Convention, and considering their views on the need for legislation on abortion.
  • Sunday 30 December, 12:00 noon, Galway Lawn Tennis Club, Galway (map) Humanists West, Galway are having their last monthly meeting of the year, a shortened meeting (1 hour) followed by a ‘holiday season’ lunch in a nearby venue to be confirmed. All welcome – especially party animals! Facebook event page


  • I greeted news that Youth Defence is now open about their US-based financing with mixed delight. True, the myth that they are the voice of the silent Irish majority can only be damaged by this approach. But I worry that their true colours may show more clearly when they drop the pretense of being strangers to the worst excesses of anti abortion activism in the USA. Geoff continues his examination of Youth Defence and their followers.

That’s it for another week. Keep up with goings-on on our website, Facebook , Twitter and Youtube.

Derek Walsh
Editor, Secular Sunday
Atheist Ireland

Secular Sunday