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Atheist Ireland: Oxymoron, or growing movement?

In a country where the Catholic Church and the state are joined at the hip, Ireland would seem barren ground for an atheist movement. But Atheist Ireland is building momentum.
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A man walks past the Papal Cross in Phoenix Park, in Dublin, Ireland. (Peter Muhly/AFP/Getty Images)

LONDON — Is there a less likely name for a political action group than Atheist Ireland

One of the most Roman Catholic countries on earth, a nation where the Catholic Church and the state are joined at the hip, Ireland would seem barren ground for an atheist movement. Slowly but surely, though, Atheist Ireland is building momentum.

That the first steps are being taken to add atheism to the religious studies curriculum in Irish schools is proof of that. And the fact that no one has been threatened with excommunication over it further demonstrates how much the country is changing.

Atheism Ireland's founder, Michael Nugent, said outsiders shouldn't be surprised about the increasing tolerance for a non-believing viewpoint in Ireland.

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