Secular Sunday #69 – The Righty Quinn

If you’re sick of reading about David Quinn, then you may want to skip this week’s blog section. His behaviour at the Constitutional Convention and since has drawn the ire of quite a few bloggers and we’ve collected their pieces here. We also have some convention news, a profile of another of our speakers and a list of all the events we could find taking place in the next few weeks. Enjoy!

– Derek Walsh, Editor


Our forthcoming international conference Empowering Women Through Secularism now has its own websiteFacebook page and Twitter account.

Topics discussed at the conference will include:

  • How religiously-inspired laws discriminate against women
  • How secularism protects freedom of conscience
  • Healthcare, sexuality and reproductive rights
  • Combatting violence against women

Tickets are €100 and available here.


Profile: Ivana Bacik

Every week until the Empowering Women through Secularism conference, we’ll be profiling one of the speakers.

Ivana Bacik is a member of Seanad Eireann since 2007. She also practises as a barrister, and teaches courses in Criminal law, Criminology and Penology, and Feminist Theory and Law at Trinity.
She is a member of Atheist Ireland and has spoken at a number of our events including the World Atheist Convention in 2011.
Ivana has campaigned for many years on social justice issues including abortion, equal marriage and minority rights.



  • Monday 22 April, 8:30 pm, McSwiggans Bar and Restaurant, Woodquay, Galway (map)
    Galway Skeptics in the Pub #55.Facebook event page
  • Thursday 25 April, 7:30 pm, Trinity Capital Hotel, Pearse St., Dublin 2 (map)
    Dublin Atheists in the Pub. Facebook event page
  • Monday 29 April, 7:30 pm, The Roundy Bar, Cork (map)
    Cork Humanists Film Club. This month, the film is The Ledge (IMDB). Facebook event page
  • Saturday 4 May, 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm, GPO, O’Connell St., Dublin 1 (map)
    Brendan Maher will be outside the GPO promoting atheism, secularism and humanism. Email Brendan if you want to help.
  • Sunday 5 May, 4:00 pm, Buswell’s Hotel, Molesworth St., Dublin 2 (map)
    Monthly meeting of the Humanist Association of Ireland. All are welcome. Facebook event page
  • Saturday 29 & Sunday 30 June, O’Callaghan Alexander Hotel, Dubln 2 (map)
    “Empowering Women Through Secularism” An international two-day conference featuring some of the biggest names in atheism, skepticism, secularism and feminism. Buy tickets now

Blog Special: David Quinn & Co.

Newspaper columnist and founder of the Iona Institute David Quinn made a submission to the Constitutional Convention opposing marriage equality. Quinn was accused by Senator David Norris of deliberately misleading the Convention (video) and several bloggers have taken up the case this week.

In my opinion, manipulating the findings of experiments or being economical with the statistical validity of a report is morally as unforgivable as making up a quote or not counting all of the votes in an election.  –  Dr. Peter Stafford, a research analyst, questions the standards of Quinn’s research.

Here Quinn presents us with a catch 22. He will (presumably) support same sex marriage as a child rearing institution once we have significant data on children raised in same sex marriages. But we cannot have marriage equality till we have the survey, and we cannot have survey participants till we have marriage equality. –Geoff Lillis calls out the hypocrisy inherent in Quinn’s position.

What is the Iona Institute?   Well, it’s a construct of David’s imagination, comprising a small group of mutually-reinforcing, unelected, unrepresentative right-wing Catholics who nevertheless have unlimited access to our publicly-funded broadcaster’s air time, for no obvious reason.  – Bock the Robber takes apart Quinn’s claims line by line.

I find it interesting that in the above argument the key words are “that we know of”. Words so key that Mr Quinn has never used them before, so key that this is the first time  Mr Quinn has employed this line of argument. I believe the only key aspect about those words is that it gives Mr Quinn a route to try and wiggle out of the hole he has put himself in. – Peter Ferguson notices the not-so-subtle change in Quinn’s position

David Quinn was not the only member of the Iona Institute to catch the attention of bloggers this week though. His colleague Breda O’Brien also managed to raise some hackles:

It is entirely possible to believe that having both a mother and father has value and allows for situation where there are gay parents for them to allow to marry, in the same way that society allows single-parent families. Very few people would think that the value of having both a mother and father would supersede a single parent’s right. – Paul Moloney picks apart O’Brien’s defence of her anti-gay position

The most worrying aspect of the fact that O’Brien and her Iona ilk are allowed unfettered access to our national airwaves on an almost constant basis, despite, in this case a lack of any relevant qualification, raises questions about the media’s laziness in attempting to find qualified dissenting voices. – Anne-Marie laments the lack of a better class of bigot.

Secular Sunday

1 Comment

  1. Avatar
    David Thomas April 21, 2013

    David Quinn has been talking about media bias, in the media of all places, but when he had the opportunity to present his case he must have been overcome by the emotion and forgotten it. Are the arguments quoted here and in bock the robbers blog the sum total of the arguments against same-sex marriage? If so they resemble the emperors new clothes.

    I’m interested in learning more about the Iona Institute if someone can point me to a good resource beyond what is said on their website.