The Iona Institute have organised a conference on the question of religious freedom, which will take place in Dublin on 24th September. Admission free.

Freedom of conscience and religion

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This year’s Iona Institute conference will deal with the extremely important and topical issue of freedom of conscience and religion.  This freedom is one of our most fundamental rights. But it is under increasing threat and can no longer be taken for granted.

For example, a Catholic infertility doctor based in Galway was recently investigated by the Irish Medical Council on grounds of professional misconduct because, in accordance with his conscience and his beliefs about the best interests of children, he offers his service only tomarried couples.  The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation has attacked as a form of “discrimination” the right of religious schools to employ teachers on the basis of ethos.  Overseas, freedom of religion is under even more pressure. In Britain, for example, a nurse was recently suspended from her job for offering to pray for a patient. An airport employee was told she could no longer wear her crucifix.  Our conference will look at what is happening in Ireland, Britain and elsewhere and what religious believers can do to defend their basic rights.

Anyone wishing to attend this conference should email or ring 01- 6619204

Chair and Speakers

Our chair will be the Church of Ireland Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, the Right Reverend Ken Good.

Neil Addison is a barrister who specialises in religious freedom cases in the UK. He was a Senior Crown Prosecutor for a number of years and previously worked with Housing Associations and in the commercial sector. He is now in private practice working in Civil, Criminal and Employment law.

Professor Roger Trigg is a Senior Research Fellow in the University of Oxford Faculty of Theology and a member the Faculty of Philosophy. His work has consistently opposed relativism in various fields, and has upheld the relevance of appeals to an objective reality, and to human nature. His most recent book, Religion in Public Life: Must Faith be Privatized? (OUP 2007), deals with religion in the public sphere and the issue of the public recognition of religion in a pluralist society.

David Quinn is a religious and social affairs commentator. His columns appear weekly in The Irish Independent and The Irish Catholic. He appears regularly on TV and radio and he is director of The Iona Institute.

Date and Venue

9.30am-1pm Friday, September 24, 2010

Alexander Hotel (behind the Davenport Hotel), Dublin 2

Admission free


9.30 Registration

9.45 Welcome and introductory remarks

10.00 The growing crackdown on religious freedom

Neil Addison

10.50 Coffee break

11.10 Freedom of conscience and religion: what it is and why we need it

Professor Roger Trigg

12.00 Freedom of conscience and religion in Ireland

David Quinn

12.40 to 13.00 Questions and closing remarks

Iona Institute

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The Iona Institute promotes the place of marriage and religion in society. We defend the continued existence of publicly-funded denominational schools. We also promote freedom of conscience and religion.

The Iona Institute is headed by religious and social affairs commentator, David Quinn.