The Humanist Association of Ireland (HAI) is a community of people who believe in humanist principles and aspire to a fair, balanced, ethical and responsible secular society. The HAI campaigns for the equal treatment of people of no religion by the State and provides a forum for people to meet, share experiences and develop their humanist ideals in an informal, friendly, and inclusive environment.
What is Humanism?
Humanism is a view of life that combines reason with compassion. It is based on a concern for humanity in general, and for human individuals in particular. It is for people who base their interpretation of existence on the evidence of the natural world and its evolution, and not on belief in the supernatural (theistic god, miracles, afterlife, revealed morality etc.). Humanism continues a tradition which has existed for over 2,500 years and still flourishes today. It is an active, positive philosophy in its own right and more than a reaction to religion.
Humanists embrace secular ethics believing in the common moral decencies of altruism, integrity, honesty, truthfulness and responsibility – essentially being ‘good without god’. A Humanist believes that the happiness of individuals and of humankind depends on people, rather than on religion and dogma. We tend to be free-thinkers who aspire to a progressive, compassionate world free from religious privilege, discrimination and intolerance. We are guided by practical, scientific and technical understanding for the benefit all people everywhere, now and in the future.
Humanism is a general personal life stance, not a religion. It is flexible in its interpretations, but those who prefer a more formal definition can refer to the Amsterdam Declaration of 2002. You can also read the Amsterdam Declaration as Gaeilge.
The HAI encouraged people to consider ticking the “No Religion” option in the recent 2016 census if they do not currently practice a religion. Read further
The 2011 census results confirm that more than 300,000 people responded “No Religion” or “Not Stated” to the question about religion. This figure has increased more than four-fold in twenty years.
What we do
The HAI provides a forum for Humanists and other non-religious people to meet and share experiences and develop their personal ideals in an informal, friendly environment.
More formally, the HAI campaigns for equal treatment by the State of the non-religious with the religious; the abolition of religious privileges; and ultimately the total separation of Church from State. It aspires to a balanced, secular society.
If you live in Ireland and are an atheist, agnostic, freethinker, rationalist, secularist, sceptic; do not believe in a god, are non-religious and/or have no belief in the supernatural – Humanism may just interest you!
Specifically, the HAI
- provides secular ceremonies for births, weddings and funerals.
- maintains an informative website.
- runs monthly meetings at the Ashling Hotel in Dublin 8 near Heuston Station – there is usually a speaker on a current topic followed by an open discussion, with plenty of time for socialising. Non-members are always welcome.
- offers humanist chaplaincy services
- jointly publishes a bi-monthly magazine, Hi! Humanism Ireland, with Humani (the Humanist Association of Northern Ireland) containing news, controversial articles and some serious philosophy, which is sent to all members along with an HAI newsletter.
- holds an annual Darwin Day lecture in Trinity College, Dublin given by a prominent scientist.
- jointly organises a Summer School held annually in Carlingford with Humani (the Humanist Association of Northern Ireland). This is a two-day theme-based event with lectures, discussions and workshops, as well as plenty of social activities.
- works hard to voice the Humanist and secular viewpoint in print, broadcast and online media.
- distributes a monthly e-Newsletter to all members keeping them up to date.
- organises seminars and workshops and contributes to cultural life.
- works closely with local, regional Humanist groups.
- makes appropriate submissions to Government for changes in the Constitution, Legislation and State practices.
- organizes formal campaigns to further the aims of the Association.
The HAI grew from and replaced the Association of Irish Humanists (AIH), which was founded in 1993 and renamed in 2004.
How does the HAI operate?
The HAI is a limited company with charitable status, run by an elected, unpaid Board of Directors with the help of volunteers from among the members. Formal reports and accounts are presented at the AGM each year. The Board meets at least every six weeks and initiates, organises and oversees various HAI activities.
Board of Directors
|Director of Finance:||Philip Byers|
Chairperson: Terry Saunders
Administrator & Company Secretary: Kilda Taylor
HAI documents available to view and/or for download:
The HAI beyond Ireland
The IHEU is the world union of Humanist, rationalist, secular, laïque, ethical culture, atheist and freethought organizations. Their mission is to represent and support the global Humanist movement. Their goal is a Humanist world in which human rights are respected and all can live a life of dignity. In 2002, the Amsterdam Declaration 2002 was adopted by the general assembley of the IHEU as a defining statement of world humanism.
We are also a member of the Humanist Council of the Isles (HCOTI) which includes these organisations:
- British Humanist Association
- Belfast Humanist Group
- Humanist Association of Northern Ireland
- Humanist Society of Scotland
- Isle of Man Freethinkers
Please see our Links page for many more useful and interesting websites.