Secular Sunday #520 – The campaign for secular schools

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The campaign for secular schools


As Ireland becomes more secular, it is increasingly untenable that the Catholic Church should control 90% of our primary schools, with our equality laws allowing them to discriminate on the ground of religion to protect their ethos.

Tackling this issue has always been, and remains, a priority for Atheist Ireland. We will be launching a new initiative in the coming weeks to help vindicate the right to not attend religious instruction, so keep an eye out for that.

This will build on our work so far this year on secular education, which includes our report showing that schools are defying a new law on admission policies, raising the issue with the UN Human Rights Committee and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, lobbying for objective sex education, and helping parents who have problems with their local school.

Atheist Ireland’s Education Committee has INTO and ASTI teachers on it, and we would like to both increase this representation and also add teachers from the TUI as well as SNAs, retired teachers, parents, and college students. If you want to help with this, please let us know.

More generally, if you would like to help us to continue this and other secular-related work, please join Atheist Ireland as a member. We are a voluntary body with no paid staff, and we depend on our members to continue our work.  You can join here.

– Secular Sunday Editorial Team

Éire Aindiach

Éire Aindiach


Chun ár gcuid feachtais a leathnú agus a neartú, tá sé beartaithe ag Éire Aindiach níos mó úsáid a bhaint as an Ghaeilge.
Ba mhaith linn meitheal a eagrú, chun cuidiú le:
  • Polasaithe agus feachtais Éire Aindiach a phlé ar an raidió nó ar an teilifís
  • Cuidiú le doiciméid ghaeilge a scríobh
  • Bualadh le polaiteoirí chun stocaireacht a dhéanamh
Táimid i mbun aistriúcháin a dhéanamh ar dhoiciméid polasaí faoi láthair, agus teastaíonn cabhair uainn le aistriúchán agus profáil.  Más maith leat bheith páirteach san iarracht seo, cur ríomhphost chugainn ag
English translation:

To broaden and strengthen our campaigns, Atheist Ireland have undertaken to make more use of the Irish language.
We are looking to assemble a group of volunteers, to help with:

  • Discussing our policies and campaigns on radio or tv
  • Helping to write documents in Irish
  • Meeting with politicians to lobby them
We are in the process of translating policy documents at the moment, and we need some help with translating and proofreading.  If you would like to assist with this effort, please email us at

Atheist Ireland News

Calling concerned teachers

If you are a teacher and concerned about unwanted religious influence contact Chris at

List of Atheist Ireland Submissions

Buy this book “Is My Family Odd About Gods?”

**Schools Special Offer**
Atheist Ireland are offering the book ‘Is my family odd about godsfree (excluding postage and packaging).  This means that you can get this book for the total price of 10 euro. This offer is aimed at families with school going children, who would like to read this book. This offer is limited to one book per family unit and for postage within Ireland only. Read more…

Have you noticed that your school and your teachers may tell you one thing about religion, while some of your friends and family may have different ideas about god?
If you think that this is a little odd, then this book is for you. Buy this book here.

Lessons about Atheism

Atheist Ireland has published a set of free lesson plans about atheism for children aged 8 and up. We welcome feedback, which we will use to develop the lessons. You can download the lesson plans here

Be Good without Gods

Atheist Ireland ‘Good Without Gods’ Kiva team members have made loans of  $34,875 to 1210 entrepreneurs in the developing world. You can join the team here. Before you chose a loan, make sure you do not support religious groups. You can check the loan partner’s social and secular rating here.

Atheist Ireland’s ‘‘ is a place where people can publicly renounce the religion of their childhood. Currently there are 1889 symbolic defections. Many share their reasons for making a public symbolic defection which you can read here

Petition on Schools Equality PACT 

Atheist Ireland currently runs one petition – The Schools Equality PACT. This seeks to reform religious discrimination in state-funded schools. Currently this stands at 4,093 Help us reach it’s target of 5000. Please sign and share this petition if you haven’t already done so. Thank you.

Tell us what you think

Have you any feedback that you would like to give us on the Secular Sunday newsletter. What are we getting right? What could we improve on? Is there something you would like to see included? Drop us an email at

Please consider joining or re-joining Atheist Ireland

Atheist Ireland is an entirely volunteer run organisation. We receive no grants or government funding to continue our campaign work. We rely entirely on membership fess and donations.

Annual membership is nominal; €25 waged, €10 unwaged/student and €40 for family membership. Please consider becoming a member. Membership means:

  • You can help to build an ethical and secular Ireland.
  • You have a say in determining policy and electing officers.
  • You can attend members meetings and our AGM.
  • You will have access to our members only Facebook group
  • Your membership fee will go towards supporting our many campaigns.

You can join Atheist Ireland here.

Thank you for your continued support

Atheist Ireland Committee


Opinion and Media

Material on atheism, secularism, human rights,politics,science etc. collected from media and the blogosphere from Ireland and beyond; used without permission, compensation, liability, guarantee or implied endorsement. We aim to include a variety of diverse opinions and viewpoints.


Blogs & Opinions




Damien Dempsey backs voluntary assisted dying legislation after father’s death

By Beau Donelly


The singer-songwriter Damien Dempsey has thrown his support behind proposed voluntary assisted dying legislation days after his father died. In a post to Facebook yesterday, Dempsey paid tribute to his father, Frank, 75, who died in the Mater Hospital in Dublin last week surrounded by family. Read more…


Parts of Ireland do not have equal access to abortion three years on from vote

By Beau Donelly


Some parts of the country do not have equal access to abortion services three years after terminations were legalised, the health minister has said. Stephen Donnelly told the Oireachtas joint health committee yesterday that a review into abortion legislation would assess the operation and effectiveness of the law that came into force in January 2019, with consultation from service users, stakeholders and the public. Read more…





Ultraconservative Supreme Court primed to require religious education funding

By the Freedom From Religion Foundation


The U.S. Supreme Court held oral arguments today in a challenge that seems poised to further erode the besieged wall of separation between state and church.
In Carson v. Makin, the court will decide whether Maine may exclude sectarian schools from a program intended to provide a public education to rural students
. Read more…

Bill to replace worship with inclusive assemblies heads to Commons

By The National Secular Society


A bill to replace mandatory collective worship with inclusive assemblies in non-faith schools has cleared the House of Lords. The private member’s bill, introduced by Liberal Democrat peer Lorely Burt, cleared its third reading and will now head to the House of Commons where it will be picked up by Conservative MP Crispin Blunt. Read more…

Polish hospital refused abortion against psychiatrists’ advice for fear of prosecution

By Daniel Tillies


A hospital has confirmed that doctors refused to terminate the pregnancy of a woman with a fatally malformed foetus – despite psychiatrists saying that it threatened her mental health – because they feared prosecution under Poland’s recently toughened abortion law. Read more…

Supreme Court signals further erosion of separation of church and state in schools

By Nina Totenberg


The U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative supermajority seemed poised Wednesday to hand school-choice advocates a major victory, and potentially a large expansion of state programs required to fund religious education. The handwriting on the wall came during a nearly two-hour argument involving a challenge brought by two Maine families to the state’s unusual way of providing public education. Read more…

Lynched Sri Lankan man’s family seeks justice from Pakistan

By Asad Hashim


Pakistani police say they have arrested seven “prime actors” in the brutal mob lynching of a Sri Lankan factory manager over alleged “blasphemy”, as the man’s family say they are still struggling to make sense of the “inhumanity” of the killing while they make preparations for his funeral.Read more…

If you are a blogger or vlogger writing or talking about atheism, secularism, ethics, skepticism, human rights etc. and would like us to include your work here please email the link to


Podcasts, Videos and Interviews


Do you host an Irish-based podcast on atheism, secularism, science, skepticism, human rights etc.? Let us know and we will link to it here.

Newstalk – The declining numbers of trainee priests and the future of the church


Freethought Radio – Highlights and Lowlights

Humanists UK – What I believe – Angela Eagle
The Friendly Atheist Podcast – Christian Predator Josh Duggar is Going to Jail
The National Secular Society Podcast – Islamist ideology and free speech

Media Watch

News and views from Ireland and around the world. Sharing is not an endorsement. 




Please consider joining Atheist Ireland and support our continued work








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