Is The Iona Catholic?


You may have missed Professor Patricia Casey (above), consultant psychiatrist at the Mater Hospital, UCD lecturer and patron of the Iona Institute on Today FM’s ‘The Last Word with Matt Cooper’ on Friday.

It was enlightening.

Matt Cooper: “As a psychiatrist, do you not have a duty to look at scientific research and results rather than depending on your own moral views and your own religious beliefs to inform you as to what’s best for people?”

Patricia Casey: “I think Matt before we broke for the interval I said we have to base all our views on science and that’s..that’s the purpose of a think-tank like the Iona Institute. The idea is to look at the evidence and base policies…base policies, base our our thinking on that. And you know in relation….”

Cooper: “Sorry. Are you not based on religious beliefs and…?”

Casey: “No. We’re not a Catholic institute.”

Cooper: “Alright. A Christian institution?”

Casey: “No. We’re not. We support the role of religion in in in society but we’re not a religiously based organisation.”

Cooper: “Can you understand why people might find that hard to believe that say perhaps you’re trying to operate under some sort of cover?”

Casey: “Well I don’t know why people would believe that. I mean there’s there’s…we talk about religion because we believe religion has a place in society. But we…”

Cooper: “And are you all practising Catholics?”

Casey: “How do you mean all? I mean I’m I’m I’m a patron. There..there…there are four patrons em…I am a practising Catholic, I would think Breda O’Brien is,

Cooper: “Yes. Very definitely.”

Casey: “(Father) Vincent Twomey…Vincent Twomey is and I can’t think who the fourth…there is a fourth patron whose name escapes me at the moment em but…”

Cooper: “How about people like David Quinn? Former editor of the Irish Catholic quite clearly. So all of the main people, the main spokespeople for the Iona Institute are clearly very strong Catholic believers.”

Casey: “Well I don’t know how strong their beliefs are. You can ask me how strong my beliefs are and I can tell you in honesty they wax and wain at times. During times in the past I have not believed in God.”

Listen here (35 minutes)

Iona Institute

Iona’s patrons

Pic Irish Medical Times

95 thoughts on “Is The Iona Catholic?

  1. zigfield benzene

    First line on Iona’s website
    “The Iona Institute promotes the place of marriage and religion in society. “

  2. Conor

    So they’re a Think tank now..! I thought they were supposed to be a charity. They are registered as a Charity and recieve Tax benefits because of it..

    1. Sidewinder

      And am I right in saying that they qualify for that status because of the “promotion of religion” aspect?

      1. Clampers Outside!

        Yup. Religions don’t pay tax.

        Anyone want to join mine? I nominate Ziggy Stardust to be God and Frank Zappa his Earth son…. now, we need a daughter and a Mum. Shania Twain? Daughter or Mum… hmmmm

        … oh forget it, it’s just gonna get messy.

        1. Kilyth

          Since they’re getting charitable status based on their promotion of religion who do we write to to get this status revoked? After all, one of their main patrons has gone on the record as saying that they’re not a religious institution.

  3. phil

    Spinning the facts seems to be a national pastime in this country, must have something to do with how we punch above our weight in literature and arts …

    1. deliverusfromevil

      It’s ok to lie when you are battling satan- ‘mental reservation’ I believe is the phrase.

  4. Gary

    Iona operates on a PSEUDO-scientific basis. It looks for evidence to back its views, but cherry picks evidence and studies that support its views, and ignores those that don’t. This is NOT science.

    1. rotide

      In fairness, most branches of science do this at one point or another with no religious agenda. Physics and Geology being prime offenders.

        1. Melton_Carbury

          It’s possibly overstating the case, but yes, a lot do. There was a report in the Guardian last year stating that over 50% of results in cancer research experiments can not be repeated (which , of course, following the scientific method makes them useless). I asked a friend of mine who works in this particular area, and she said “it’s probably more.” Some researchers can not gain the same results from repeated experiments which were done in the same lab! Scientists at their best (like all researchers) are a wonderful thing, but the race for funding rarely brings out the best in any researcher.

          1. Scared Vagina

            Some people seem to have some very strange ideas about how this discipline works.

            The fact that some experiments are repeatable and some are not is what science IS. We take the repeatable ones and we don’t even call them the truth – we call them the best theory we have so far.

          2. Nigel

            Er, that’s why you do experiments. To see what repeats. In the process you go through a lot of stuff that doesn’t repeat. ‘Tis the very essence of scientific inquiry.

          1. Rob

            I doubt any scientist has ever said that science never makes mistakes..of course it does…BUT science is all about coming to the best possible reasoning based on the available data…and scientists constantly regulate each others work. I can’t believe I have to explain that to someone.

          2. Jbarring

            No one ever said science is perfect and doesn’t make mistakes. What scienctists don’t do is stick their fingers in their ears and go lalalala when someone tells them they’re wrong. They go and retest and refine their theories and look for the right, not just instantly assume they’re correct from the get-go.

          3. ABU

            Original point was that Iona looks for evidence to support its views, cherry-picks and ignores disconfirming research.
            Whether they do or not, if you really think that these practices are not commonplace in every facet of science, then you really understand little of the history and sociology of science. All those practices are rampant. Google ‘file drawer problem’ or ‘hypothesising after the result is known’.

            Of course, these practices are corrected over time, but they are very common.

          4. rotide

            “No one ever said science is perfect and doesn’t make mistakes. What scienctists don’t do is stick their fingers in their ears and go lalalala when someone tells them they’re wrong. They go and retest and refine their theories and look for the right, not just instantly assume they’re correct from the get-go.”

            Actually, thats what a LOT of scientists down the ages have done. Look at the theory of Continental Drift and the utter opposition to it. Extinction events caused by extra terrertrial impacts is another one that comes to mind.

            In the perfect world, science and scientists behave as you describe. However this is not a perfect world and humans unfortunatly have human nature.

            Have a browse through some climate change websites and marvel at the opposing views touted for more examples of said.

      1. VictorRomeo

        You are confusing theory with faith. Theories are there to be proven or disproven. Faith on the other hand….

        1. deliverusfromevil

          The prime offenders in this regard are the pharmaceutical industry- with ads featuring white-coated actors researching silkiness and feeling-better-osity. Ben Goldacre is an excellent reference for how ignorance is endlessly profitable.

          1. woesinger

            Have you mistaken pharmaceuticals for cosmetics?

            Lip gloss is all well and good, but doesn’t seem to do much against meningitis.

            Also – the sin of the Pharma industry is not faith, but greed.

    2. Derek

      While Science generally does discard theories when the evidence clearly favours another theory, individual scientists are not as dispassionate as people imagine. Most scientists I’ve met operate on a semi-religious faith.

      Its not an automatically negative thing. I don’t think we’d be as scientifically advanced as we are if scientists did not have a bias. Sometimes that bias turns out to be correct.

  5. the-bag

    Why are they so afraid to be labelled a religious organisation? They clearly are, why not just say it?

    1. GarPrivate

      and because let’s face it; if they openly acknowledged themselves as a religious organisation, people would take them less seriously.

      ironically, their refusal to be open about their religion is quite reminiscent of the Denial of Peter…

  6. Paul Moloney

    I don’t mind them being a right-wing ultra-Catholic think-tank trying to foist their minority religious views on the rest of us. (Well, OK, a bit.) But I do resent the fact they think we’re f**king idiots.


    1. Twunt

      There is plenty of evidence to suggest that a significant portion of the population of this island are none too clever

      1. Sheelagh Hanly

        It is amazing how some people who do science think they are the only one’s who are intelligent. Very often they are one-tracked in their approach to other areas of life and are not open to learning. I have met scientists whose belief in science is total and everything is ‘fact’ even when there is not that much evidence in our everyday lives. We read so many ‘cures’ and ‘breakthroughs’ in illnesses etc. by scientists but we rarely see the outcomes of these. The scientists are still pedalling the drugs and the diseases are still there!

  7. 23958634

    She’s right,take a glance at the Iona’s noticeboard,not a whiff of religion…

    Ireland and the abolition of God
    12 December 2012
    The Holocaust and Pope Pius XII
    November 8
    Love, sex and marriage in liberal societies
    September 28
    A talk by Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali
    May 9
    Denominational schools in a pluralist Ireland
    Mar 15

  8. woesinger

    This just in:

    Bears deny shitting in the woods,but support the role of shit in the woodland ecosystem.

    1. Kevin

      When pressed, the bear admitted to personally shitting in the woods, and noted that several other patrons of the bear organisation also shat in the woods as a matter of course. The bear was at pains to stress that this behaviour is the business – no pun intended – of individuals within the bear organisation, indeed, probably of every bear within the organisation, but that this in no way reflected on the character of the organisation itself, which officially has no position on shitting in any woodland.

  9. Seán C

    Matt really catches her out when it comes to the issue of gay marriage….she is talking about how terrible it is that some people commit suicide because of their repressed homosexuality, Matt then says is that not because of things like them being denied the right to marry…she has no f**king response to it at all.

    Eejit of a woman.

    1. martco

      unfortunately she’s no eejit but IS dangerous and wants you to live your life the way she and her peers would prefer

      congrats to Matt Cooper who did a very good job here in giving us glimpses into one of the participants of a secretive layer of control in Irish society

    2. Scared Vagina

      Likewise: “abortion increases likelihood of mental health issues”.

      Hmmnaw – social shaming by people who claim to have a monopoly on morality causes mental health issues.

      1. Sheelagh Hanly

        But wasn’t this the view of ALL the psychiatrists at the recent meetings on abortion with the Oireachtas that abortion increases the likliehood of mental health issues….afterall, the psychiatrists should know, shouldn’t they? Perhaps if you left your real name you credentials could be checked out regarding your qualifications in mental health issues.

  10. Listrade

    Look, just because the Island of Iona is famous as a Christian community and just because every other institution that has taken the name of Iona is a specific Catholic organisation, it doesn’t follow that this particular institution is the same.

    And just because everyone who is involved in the institute has clearly demonstrable links to a catholic agenda it could be a coincidence.

    1. Captain Obvious

      and it has excellent symmetry .. Oooh I just love symmetry!!!! Is there ANYTHING that can be said for more symmetry!??!!

    2. Sparks

      And these Rosary beads are so nice and smooth to hold. I like saying the Hail Mary because it’s so poetic, but I have no idea if it has any religious significance. Why am I kneeling? My doctor told me it was good for my back.

  11. Joe

    so it’s a cult, well that’s the impression the website gives. cults are all about spinning the truth to suit a groups beliefs and getting weak minds to believe that as fact.

    1. Marie

      I think you’ve actually hit the nail on the head here, the Iona spin, the Vatican censoring of Irish priests, cover ups of wrong-doing, demonstrations paid for from money outside of Ireland where no private posters allowed,

      Sometime, somewhere these ‘people’ have got to realise that this country has a considerable amount of Atheists, Agnostics, Muslims, Hindus, Islamists, Protestants and we all have a right to our place within this society and we’re not going to be brainwashed into accepting Catholic teachings that we’ve already rejected

  12. Tommy

    How the fook is she a lecturer and a practising psychologist? Surely her political and social campaigning is at odds with her role working in a hospital with vulnerable people.

    1. Friday

      Worse, she’s a psychiatrist. She prescribes drugs, makes diagnoses and can get someone committed to a psychiatric ward.

    2. cousinjack

      Plus she is seen by many as the voice of psychology in Ireland.
      Her ideology combine with her position should be unacceptable in a republic, she doesnot treat her ideology as a private matter

      1. Friday

        Psychiatry! I’m a psychologist, and it gives me chills to think people associate her with my profession.

    3. Sheelagh Hanly

      This discussion is a little bit scary because when people show their hatred for an organisation of which a large sections of the world belongs, there is the danger that free speech, freedom of religion etc. is under threat. Most discussions on religion, especially when it is about the catholic religion is so insulting to Catholics and very often blasphemous. Intelligence and wisdom seem to be in short supply. Please, can you not discuss the pros and cons, the merits and demerits without all the hate.

  13. Susan

    I believe Professor Casey has just aimed her urinary stream in the general direction of my upper neck while pointing frantically at the sky to tell me I need a brolly.

    Now all I need to do is find the tube she’s using for that purpose.

  14. Oisin

    It’s great that these debates are showing us how many religious idiots are still running so many organisations in Ireland. And like most people with political traits, they couldn’t even admit what they clearly doing because they think it’ll be spun against them.

    She should just keep her little book and opinions to herself.

  15. Melton_Carbury

    My apologies “scared vagina,” I should have pointed out that the unrepeatable experiments were cited as resulting in legitimate “theories.” As I’m sure you know in cancer research experiments which result in negative results (i.e. did not work as expected) are not published for fear of giving an advantage to another research group, however, these experiments are still cited and used in funding applications.

    I know how the scientific method works quite well actually, as well as the reality which often undermines it.

  16. Sean

    This is depressing, a psychiatric lecturer with a religious agenda. I thought u.c.d., and most universities are supposed to be secular environments…. :(

    1. paddy de plastered

      UCD top brass famously rife with Opus Dei fundamentalist whackjobs. I’m sure there would be some overlap between the Iona goons and Opus Dei in a Venn diagram of creepy religious zealotry.

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