Citizens to Separate Church and State (CSCS) welcomes the No-vote in the presidential age referendum (‪#‎AgeRef‬)

Press release issued Saturday 23 May for immediate use

Citizens to Separate Church and State (CSCS) welcomes the No-vote in the presidential age referendum (‪#‎AgeRef‬).
We could not understand the government’s proceeding with this referendum (35th) without first fixing the religious discrimination in Constitution Article 12.8, with its requirement for the president-elect to swear a religious oath at installation.
Reform of Art. 12.8 by permitting the use of an ‘affirmation’ has to be put before the people first. It is an abnegation of human rights against non-believers, or those candidates who cannot swear an oath, to continue with this anachronism in our constitution. Unless of course that this State only want believers as its president.

CSCS wrote to every cabinet minister and member of the Oireachtas back in early February pleading with the government not to move the Bill for the 35th amendment in the Oireachtas but instead to act to fix Art. 12.8. Not one minister replied to us. No political party engaged with us either. The government’s response to our pleading was to move the Bill to enable the 35th amendment to be taken without modifying Art. 12.8. The opposition did not demur.

The discriminatory aspect of the ‘forgotten referendum’ has been characterised by omerta in our democracy and media. CSCS got virtually no coverage for its position on this referendum once the campaigning for the marriage referendum got going. We ask: What has happened in our democracy that our view was not given any platform?

The State has been under notice from the UN Human Rights Committee that maintaining the religious oath constitutes a human rights abnegation – as recently as last August in a UNHRC periodic report on Ireland.
Do human rights and ‘equality for all’ only apply in relation to the marriage referendum?


Dick Spicer:

Letter to Editor in Irish Examiner in support of CSCS position

Monday, May 11, 2015
I concur with correspondent Dick Spicer, of Citizens to Separate Church and State, who asserts that the President’s religious oath is a violation of equal rights.

Spicer says that the Government is advocating ‘equal rights’ in the marriage referendum and, on the other hand, promoting religious discrimination in the Presidential-age referendum.

Its absurd that people are required to take an oath to an invisible God that no-one has ever proven exists. In Canada, last week, a secularist association won a high court action to prevent politicians saying prayers in parliament before sessions.

Chinese scientists have unearthed a fossil of an ancient ancestor of modern birds. It is the size of a pigeon, with bat-like wings, and lived approximately 160m years ago. In contrast, humans only came into existence half a million years ago. That is why the Chinese authorities encourage fossil seekers, as they believe the fossils prove the futility of all religions.

It’s now time that we had the separation of Church and State. The story of Adam and Eve is a fairytale that most clergy no longer believe.

Gordon Cunningham

Carndonagh Park


Dublin 13

Message sent to all members of the Oireachtas today asking them to reflect on zero ‘equality’ with import of Article 12.8 on 35th Amendment

To: Members of the Oireachtas

Citizens to Separate Church and State (CSCS) wrote to our government (cabinet) on 24 February pleading with it to drop the proposed 35th Amendment to our constitution until the religious oath required by Article 12.8 for installation of the President was amended or dropped.

This letter is here:

At that stage the Bill to move the 35th Amendment (age for president) had not been introduced into the Oireachtas.

The government ignored our pleading and the Bill was subsequently moved and passed.

CSCS has issued a short (7 min) video documentary setting out why it is calling for a ‘No’ vote in the Presidential age referendum.

It is CSCS’s view that the government’s 35th amendment is ill-judged and ill–timed because it has failed to deal first with the issue regarding the religious oath that has to be sworn by the president-elect (Article 12.8).

We would ask you to watch it on:



It raises an important human right abnegation in relation to Irish citizens.

CSCS is struck by the fact that posters produced by the proponents calling for a ‘Yes’ vote in the 34th Amendment (marriage equality) campaign emphasise the ‘Equality’ aspects of this worthy cause but there has been a marked ‘blindness to equality’ in relation to the import of Art. 12.8 in its connection to the 35th amendment proposal.

We are urging citizens genuinely commited to equality for all to vote No and we ask you to consider the contradiction between the two referendums

Dick Spicer & Mike McKillen

Fair Play for Presidents ….. And For Atheists. Letter to Editor published in Sunday Times on 3 May 2015

Dear Editor,

 I find it incredible that out government is on the one hand advocating “equal rights” in the marriage referendum and on the other promoting an extension of religious discrimination in the presidential age referendum.
  The religous oath required of presidents (and judges) is being extended to a new generation who might aspire to high office.
  This is so clearly a violation of equal rights that it is hard to see how anyone could propose both at the same time.

    Dick Spicer. Bray,Co Wicklow