2011 All-Ireland Humanist Summer School




2nd-4th September 2011

Humanist Morality

Speakers include:

Roy Brown

IHEU representative at UN

Suffer the Little Children: The Holy See and International Law

Roy Brown


Born in London, Brown is a Humanist and human rights activist. He went to Haberdashers’ Aske’s School and the University of London, training as an engineer. In 1963 he emigrated to Canada, working on the design of airborne radar and navigation systems for Canadian Marconi. In 1967 he returned to England, becoming Chief Designer for Racal Research in Tewkesbury. The following year with three colleagues in London, he founded Metier Management Systems. Moving with his wife Diana to the Netherlands in 1985, he founded the World Population Foundation, then moved to Switzerland in 1987. Brown is a founder, board member, and former chairman of the World Population Foundation in the Netherlands. From 2003 to 2006, Brown was President of the International Humanist and Ethical Union. He continues his involvement with the IHEU as Chairman of its Growth and Development Committee and is its main representative of IHEU at the United NationsGeneva.

David McConnell

Professor of Genetics, TCD

Situation Ethics: Love is all you need

Professor David McConnell


David McConnell is Professor of Genetics at the Smurfit Institute of Genetics, Trinity College, Dublin. Educated at Trinity College Dublin (BA, 1966) and the California Institute of Technology (PhD, 1971), David has been a member of the faculty of Trinity College since 1970.  A molecular geneticist and author of more than 100 scientific papers, he introduced the science and technology behind genetic engineering to Ireland. David became a Humanist at about the age of 14 while at Sandford Park School and is currently President of the Humanist Association of Ireland.

Richard Norman

Vice-President, BHA

Moral Concern and the Ethics of War


Richard Norman taught philosophy at the University of Kent for many years, working mainly in the areas of moral and political philosophy, including both theoretical and practical ethics, and is now Emeritus Professor of Moral Philosophy. His books include The Moral Philosophers (a critical introduction to philosophical ethics from Plato to the present), Free and Equal (a defence of an egalitarian conception of social justice), Ethics, Killing and War (which explores the difficulty of justifying participation in war but stops short of an absolute pacifist position) and On Humanism (Routledge, 2004). He is an active member of East Kent Humanists and a Vice-President of the BHA, and was a founder-member of the Humanist Philosophers’ Group in 1999, as well as of the Humanist Peace Forum and Humanists for a Better World.

Ben Siegle

Head of Ceremonies, BHA

The Challenges of an Expanding Celebrant Network


Ben started his career in the financial services sector before moving into media, firstly in feature film production followed by a business development and marketing role as Books Manager at the Guardian and Observer publishing imprint Guardian Books. He then founded a Corporate Internal Communications consultancy, before taking on roles in operational management, financial control and marketing in the worlds of online music and film distribution.

Peter Simons

Chair of Moral Philosophy, TCD

Natural and Supernatural Morality


After working briefly as a librarian, Peter became Lecturer in Philosophy at Bolton Institute of Technology (now the University of Bolton). He then moved to Austria and lectured at the University of Salzburg from 1980-1995. Visits to the University of California, Irvine and the University of Texas at Austin were interspersed with teaching in Neuchâtel, Geneva, Fribourg, Berne and Innsbruck. From 1995-2009 he was Professor of Philosophy at the University of Leeds. From 1989-2001 he worked as a consultant to the software company Ontek Corporation. In 2004 he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy, and in 2006 a Member of the Academia Europaea. Since 2009 he has held the Chair of Moral Philosophy (1837) at Trinity College Dublin, where he is also Head of Department.



Anne Marie Waters

One Law for All Campaign

Universal and Cultural Ethics


Spokesperson for the One Law for All Campaign which works to end sharia courts and tribunals in Britain on the grounds that they work against human rights and equality before the law.  She is a lawyer with a strong interest in family law and human rights, and the interaction of the two.

Organised jointly by the Humanist Association of Ireland and the Humanist Association of Northern Ireland




Informal evening gathering in Carlingford Arms (below)



Registration, 9 15- 10 am

10 0: Welcome: Catherine O’Brien, Chair

10 10: Opening address: David McConnell:

Situation Ethics: Love is all you need

10 30: Richard Norman:

Moral Concern and the Ethics of War


11 30: Break/sale of books/CDs/DVDs etc

12 0 Roy Brown:

Suffer the Little Children: The Holy See and International Law


Lunch in the village, 1 pm


2 30   Peter Simons:

Natural and Supernatural Morality

3 30 Workshops: Humanist Ceremonies (Ben Siegle) and Humanist Chaplaincy (Peter O’Hara)

or Walk up Slieve Foye


Dinner, 7 30 pm in Four Seasons (below)



10 am: Anne Marie Waters

Universal and Cultural Ethics


11  0: Break/sale of books/CDs etc

11 30: Panel Discussion (all above speakers)

Close: 1:00 pm

Accommodation must be booked separately. Carlingford is a very popular spot for visitors and tourists. The best places to stay fill up quickly, so please make sure to book your accommodation as soon as possible! Here is a list with map at the following link:



To attend the summer school please book by sending your contact information together with payment to any of the following

Humanist Association of Ireland
Ann James, Rose Cottage, Coach Rd, Balrothery, Balbriggan,
Co. Dublin, Tel: 00 353 87 9817861
[email protected]
Events must be paid for in advance.

Full weekend: €45
Saturday events only: €30
Sunday events only: €15

Concession rate for unwaged: half above rates.

Dinner on Saturday €30

Note: Coffee and Tea are provided during in the morning, but lunch is not included. Carlingford offers a number of venues that do lunches and attendees are free to join others at any one of these or make their own arrangements.

The Heritage Centre

According to Irish legend, the giant Finn McCool roamed the land around Carlingford, and on his last day he gathered a large piece of earth and threw it out to sea. He then lay to rest and ended his life as the mountain Slieve Foy, which rises behind the seaside town. The shape of his body can be seen in the shape of the mountain. And the earth he threw? Naturally, it became the Isle of Man.

Carlingford, a beautiful medieval town located 65 miles from Dublin and 55 miles from Belfast, nestles between Slieve Foy, Carlingford Lough and the Mourne Mountains. It has more ancient buildings than any similar sized town in Ireland, and one of them – right at the foot of the mountain – is the Heritage Centre, above. This former place of worship is now a secular venue and therefore a perfect setting for a Humanist gathering.