Secular Sunday #97 – More to Read

If your thirst for reading about all things atheistic is not entirely quenched by my weekly outpourings, you’re in luck. This week there’s a chance to win a book, which you can read between newsletters. Lots of other news too, so don’t stop there. And if you make it all the way to the end, you’ll even learn about our upcoming Christmas party. So go on, get started.

– Derek Walsh, Editor

Competition Time

Tony Philpott’s new book Faithless: A Journey Out of Religion with Stops for Light Refreshment Along the Way is a humorous account of growing up in (very) Catholic Ireland in the 1960s and the author’s journey away from religion. Part memoir, part irreverent history of religion, it’s a warm, entertaining and often hilarious read. And we have a signed copy to give away.

To win, just tell us: In which suburb of Dublin did Tony Philpott grow up?

Answers by email to A winner will be randomly chosen from all correct entries received by noon on Saturday 9 November, and announced in next week’sSecular Sunday.

Faithless is published by Liffey Press and is available in bookstores now. For more about the book, including excerpts (and the answer to the competition question!) go to




  • On Thursday 31 October, Atheist Ireland made a submission on the Draft General Scheme of an Education (Admission to Schools) Bill 2013, recommending an end to discrimination on religious grounds. You can read the submission in full here.Photo: Michael Nugent, Jane Donnelly and Prof David Nash at the Constitutional Convention.
  • Michael NugentJane Donnelly and Professor David Nash spoke yesterday (Saturday 2 November) at a hearing of the IrishConstitutional Convention on the issue of blasphemy. Video and transcripts of their speeches are online here.
    Today, the Convention issued a press releasewith the results of their votes. The good news is that they have recommended changes, but we have some serious concerns. You can read about them here. We will have a more detailed and considered response soon.
  • The Constitutional Convention will be at Waterford City Hall next Thursday 7 November at 7:00 pm.
    The Constitutional Convention is holding public meetings throughout Ireland to get the views of the public on changing the Constitution. You can give your views on the separation of Church and State to the Constitutional Convention for consideration in the next phase of the Convention’s agenda.
    You can find information on the work of the Constitutional Convention here. The full list of the various meetings throughout the country can be found here.
  • Reminder: Atheist Ireland is developing  Ireland’s first ever primary school course about atheismPlease donate to help us make this course a reality. Learn more.
  • Reminder: The Equality Authority is seeking Submissions on the Proposed amendment to Section 37 of the Employment Equality Act 1998-2011. Read more
  • Reminder: There is still time for members of the public to make a submission to the Department of Education on inclusiveness in schoolsRead more


All events are free and open to everyone unless otherwise stated.

  • Thursday 7 November, 7:30 pm, The Large Room, Waterford City Hall, The Mall, Waterford (map)
    Public meeting of the Constitutional Convention. See News section for more details.
  • Sunday 13 October, 12:00 noon, A Casa Mia, Tobergal Lane, Sligo (map)
    Second Sunday Brunch. A casual, family-friendly meet-up. Facebook event page
  • Sunday 10 November, 12:00 noon,  Trinity Capital Hotel, Pearse St., Dublin 2 (map)
    As above, but for people in or around Dublin. Facebook event page
  • Monday 11 November, Dublin City University, Glasnevin, Dublin 9 (map)
    Public meeting of the Constitutional Convention. See News section for more details.
  • Wednesday 13 November, Royal Irish Academy, Dawson St., Dublin 2 (map)
    Public meeting of the Constitutional Convention. See News section for more details.
  • Friday 6 December, Trinity Capital Hotel, Pearse St., Dublin 2 (map)
    Atheist Ireland Christmas Party. An end of year celebration with finger food and good company. Admission is free for Atheist Ireland members, and €10 for non-members. (If you’re not already a member, you can join on the night.) Facebook event page


For instance, the fact that the state broadcaster RTE allows the Catholic church access to the airwaves to promulgate their faith and rituals, in the form of broadcasting masses and the Angelus, is more indicative of unrivalled privileged access rather than bias. The fact that no other superstitious belief systems, or a humanistic perspective are allowed the same uncritical access to promote their views shows that RTE is actually biased against other religions and the non-religious and not towards Catholicism, as many Catholics claim. When have you ever seen an atheist on TV for one minute at noon or at six o’clock in the evening staring in to the black emptiness that she or he believes underpins our existence? – Andrew D. Rattigan follows up on his recent TV appearance

Irish women have abortions later. And we have more surgical abortions.
We have abortions later- two weeks, on average- because travelling to the UK for a medical procedure is not a simple process. Finding money. Finding a clinic. Finding money for flights- ever had to book Ryanair on short notice? Booking flights and other transport. Can you afford a place to stay? Have you friends to stay with? Getting time off work. Have kids or other dependants? You’ll need to find someone to care for them. Oh, and remember that bit about the money? Time is ticking, and the cost of an abortion is rising with every passing week. 
– Aoife O’Riordan on Advertising Abortions in the Irish Times

Secular Sunday