Atheist Ireland has written to the Taoiseach requesting to meet him and ministers and officials, under the structured process of dialogue between the Government and churches, faith bodies and non-confessional bodies.
Atheist Ireland is a partner in this dialogue process, having been accepted as such at a meeting with officials of the Taoiseach’s Department in September 2011. We were also witnesses along with religious bodies at the recent hearings of the Health Committee on abortion law.
We first requested this meeting in June 2012, three months before the Catholic Church requested the meeting which the Taoiseach held with them last week.
We have reminded the Taoiseach that he told the Dail last April that he had personally met with representatives of many of the partners in this dialogue to convey directly his interest in the dialogue process, and that he hoped to resume this process formally.
He also told the Dail last April that meetings at official and ministerial level may be sought by either side on the basis of a proposed agenda, and that arrangements in this regard will be made by his Department, which will provide the administrative support for the process.
We have made the following requests:
1. We are requesting a meeting with the Toaiseach personally
As Atheist Ireland is one of the partners that has not met personally with the Taoiseach or his predecessors, we have asked to meet with him personally. In the interests of balance and parity of esteem, we have asked that he meet with us before he next meets again with partners who have already met with him or his predecessors.
2. We are requesting a meeting or meetings at official and ministerial level
This is our proposed agenda.
(a) Our policy document, 5 Steps to Civil Rights in a Secular Ireland.
(b) Some international cases relevant to our agenda on which we would like the Government to take action.
(c) The various submissions that we have made since our last meeting to Government and international monitoring bodies.
(d) How we should best discuss these issues with the Government on an ongoing basis in the context of policy formulation.
3. We are requesting that these be bilateral meetings
While we are obviously happy to also take part in meetings along with other partners, we are requesting that the above meetings take place solely with Atheist Ireland, as has taken place with other partners in the process, as we have a specific non-confessional secular agenda that is different from that of the other partners.
Some information about Atheist Ireland
- Atheist Ireland is a participant in the Irish Government’s structured dialogue process with the churches, faith bodies and non-confessional bodies in Ireland, and we have met in this capacity with the Taoiseach’s Department to outline our overall agenda for an ethical secular State.
- Atheist Ireland is a participant in the European Union’s dialogue process with religious and philosophical non-confessional bodies, and we have met in this capacity with the Presidents of the European Union, European Parliament and European Council.
- Atheist Ireland has participated and spoken at the 2011 and 2012 Human Dimension Implementation meetings of the OSCE in Warsaw on the sessions on freedom of conscience, religion and belief, and hosted a side event on secularism at the 2012 meeting.
- In the last year Atheist Ireland has made comprehensive written and/or oral submissions to the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism; the State Report to the UN under the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the UN under the Universal Periodic Review; the New Human Rights and Equality Commission; the Report from the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism; the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance; the Council of Europe under the Framework Convention on the Protection of National Minorities; the State Report to the UN under the Covenant on Civil & Political Rights; the National Council on Curriculum and Assessment; the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, and the Oireachtas Health Committee hearings on abortion law.