Saturday 24 August 2019

Atheists object to Carrauntoohil cross

The cross on Carrauntoohil was cut down. Photo: Piaras Kelly of KerryClimbing.ie
The cross on Carrauntoohil was cut down. Photo: Piaras Kelly of KerryClimbing.ie
Majella O'Sullivan

Majella O'Sullivan

A group representing atheists has said it objects to a cross on top of the country's highest mountain being reinstated.

Atheist Ireland said it has no objection to a cross on Carrauntoohil if it is privately owned property and has gone through the appropriate planning process.

However, if it is a public space it should not be there as it is a symbol that does not represent the whole community, it argued. A spokesman for the group, Peter Hinchliffe, said it condemned the vandalism of the cross that was cut from its base last weekend. Gardai are treating the incident as an act of criminal damage.

The group is already in dispute with Kerry County Council over the erection of a crucifix in the council chamber. Mr Hinchliffe said the group is due to meet the council again in December to discuss the matter but is prepared to contest it in court if necessary.

Earlier this year, members of Kerry County Council voted in favour of a motion by Fianna Fail's John Joe Culloty for a crucifix to be put on the wall "in light of our Christian faith and the strong Christian values contained within our constitution". The motion was agreed by six of the nine members present.

In correspondence to Atheist Ireland, the council cited the Lautsi and others V Italy case in the European Court of Human Rights, which ruled in favour of retaining a crucifix in an Italian classroom.

Mr Hinchliffe said: "We're prepared to take it as far as we need to but I'm really hoping it doesn't come to that."

Irish Independent

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