Strained Relations



Noel Mulryan made a complaint against the Road Safety Authority, claiming he was discriminated against as he wasn’t allowed wear a colander on his head in a photograph for his renewed driving licence.

Noel is a Pastafarian.

From the Workplace Relations Commission website:

The complainant states that on 9 September 2013, he applied to the Motor Tax office for a change of address on his driver’s license. He provided a form, passport sixed photographs and proof of address as required. The complainant also included a letter explaining that he was wearing headwear in his photo due to his religious beliefs.

The Complainant states that he received a letter dated 21 October 2013 explaining that after consultation with the respondent that his driving license application “was being refused on two grounds (i) the photo captured should have a clear view of the eyes/eyebrows/forehead area with minimal shadows (ii) while it is acceptable to wear head covering in accordance with religious beliefs, we do not believe that you have demonstrated that the use of head covering is related to a religious belief.”

The complainant submits that at this point he felt he was being discriminated against because of his religious beliefs. He had already explained in the letter accompanying his application that he was wearing a colander on his head for religious purposes i.e. as he is a Pastafarian.

The complainant did accept that his head covering could be smaller so he re-submitted his application on 23 October 2013 with new passport sized photographs.

He also included an accompanying letter with examples of other fellow Pastafarians wearing their religious headwear in official government issued documents. He received a letter dated 21 November from the respondent suggesting that his religious beliefs were a parody and as a result his license application would not be accepted.

And the decision?

Valerie Murtagh, adjudication officer at the Workplace Relations Commission, found:

In reaching my decision I have taken into account all the submissions, written and oral that were made to me. In accordance with section 25(4) of the Equal Status Acts, I conclude this investigation and issue the following decision.

I find that the claimant’s complaint does not come within the definition of religion and/or religious belief and therefore he has failed to establish a prima facie case of discrimination on the ground of religion. His complaint therefore fails.

Read the complaint and Ms Murtagh’s decision in full here

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71 thoughts on “Strained Relations

  1. The Real Jane

    Oh thank goodness someone is dealing with these tiresome fools. Pastafarianism might have been a mildly diverting jape a decade ago, but now it’s really on a par with those bores who call themselves jedis on the census.

    1. sendog


      one could argue that a jedi has as much a right to exist as a priest. Both represent and uphold what is good in life and society. Also their lore and history are both as fictitious as each other.

      1. ReproBertie

        I reject your claim that the Jedi uphold what is good in life and society. For one the Jedi have been seen supporting and dealing in slavery. Also they are enthusiastic about casual dismemberment and answerable to nobody when it comes to the dismemberment of ordinary members of society. Let us not forget their willingness to force (no pun intended) the weak minded to do their bidding.

        1. Rugbyfan

          kinda make them sound like the lads out in the middle east: ISIL, ISIS, Desch, depending on what media outlet calls them

      2. rotide

        I think it’s pretty well documented at this stage that the Jedi are religious extremists who have no issue with acts of terriorism against lawful governments resulting in not only the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives but the destruction of entire planets ecosystems resulting in the extinction of entire species.

          1. rotide

            Hey, if you’re cool with vulnerable orphans being radicalised, lied to and used as tools of terrorism, then we just have no common ground Caroline.

            Rebel scum.

          2. Caroline

            Conveniently twisting the realities of the situation to suit your conservative agenda again I see. Flying around in your mid-range starfighter, kow-towing to the Sith Lords in the hope of a few crumbs from their table. Well spoiler alert, it never happens.

      3. The Real Jane

        Ho ho ho, I put jedi on my census form. Take that, civil authorities! You think you can count me? My descendents are going to wish they’d met me, bantsmeister Ryan.

    2. bisted

      …the next thing they’ll be claiming a fork full of pasta and glass of chianti are the body and blood of their messiah…the fools…

  2. Daddy Wilson

    Where to even start with this, there should be some form of fine for the “complainant” for this staggeringly stupid time wasting

    1. The Real Jane

      I suspect your man reckons everyone thinks he’s gas and fierce brave taking on the state and religion.

      He may also wondered why people drift off when he arrives.

      1. Daddy Wilson

        I’d say there’s more than one picture of him holding a a beer bottle and pretending it’s his lad at a house party. And 100% there is at least one picture of him wearing a box of beer as a hat at the same party.

    2. Punches Pilot

      You don’t get it so. Like every other religious symbol and garment isn’t a waste of time! Of course it is. Why cant he wear a colander? You can wear a cross, a scarf, a collar, anything you want if you’re a member of a recognised cul … sorry religion. Its all nonsense, that’s the point.

      1. Daddy Wilson

        Then only thing more annoying than religious nutters, is the reactionary anti-religious nutters.
        I don’t prescribe to any religious beliefs, nonsensical or otherwise.
        I do prescribe to the idea of punitive measures be taken against people who fritter away the resources afforded to genuine cases of discrimination.

        1. pedeyw

          It’s kind of funny, there’s a particular type of atheist who force their belief system on others with a very religious zeal. I am also an atheist. I don’t think I’m better than someone with any faith.

  3. Mickey Twopints

    That’s my mind made up on which box to tick on the census form . Pastafarian it is.

  4. Cobweb

    His case for discrimination was never going to succeed…….it was full of holes from the outset!

  5. Bertie Blenkinsop

    Yeah, yeah
    My heart’s in a whirl
    I love, I love, I love my little colander girl….

  6. Mickey Twopints

    WTF do the RSA need SIX copies of your photograph? Don’t they just digitise one copy anyway?

    1. Mickey Twopints

      “He provided a form, passport sixed photographs and proof of address as required.”

      Oh. sixed for sized, not six copies.

  7. sendog

    whats with all the moaning marys here today?
    still hungover from the weekend?

    A Pastaferian, a jedi and a catholic. All equally nonsensical beliefs based on superstition and the reverence of objects and folklore.

    1. Daddy Wilson

      Even the “inventor” of pastafarianism is embarrassed at how certain people have embraced it. Even though he didn’t coin the word “pastafarian”

    2. Bertie Blenkinsop

      “A Pastaferian, a jedi and a catholic.”

      Awwww, I thought this was the start of a joke…

      1. Caroline

        A Pastaferian, a jedi and a catholic walk into a bar. At the other end of the bar is a glass of wine. The jedi says “I can make that glass of wine move over here using just the power of the Force”. The Catholic says “That’s nothing. I can turn that water into blood by invoking the name of the lord.” The Pastafarian says “bwak bwak bwak hey lads seen the colander on my head have ya? It’s right here… on my actual HEAD!!!”

        1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní


          So Pastafarians are basically LJG but less sex-offendery

  8. nellyb

    “I find that the claimant’s complaint does not come within the definition of religion and/or religious belief and therefore is not covered by the Equal Status legislation.”
    Since denial of his religion is officially on paper, Noel can explore the blasphemy route in courts.

    1. Daisy Chainsaw

      Preferable to millions wasted every year bringing primary school classes to masses and preparing them for communion and confirmation when they should be being educated.

    1. NoodleyAppendage

      Exactly. This is the point most commentators are missing. He actually has a great case for taking this further because it is as legitimate as any other religion.

  9. Truth in the News

    If he goes to Europe he could win, he is not one bit more ridicilous that a Judge
    or a Barrister festooned in a horsehair wig. Bishops with pointed hats holding
    crooked stick, look at members of the Gardai wearing leather gloves…..however
    we have yet to see anyone going around wearing a crown of thorns.

  10. Frilly Keane

    I hope he takes it further

    Why should his Religious belief be any more comical (or less of even) that all the others

    Black hats and ringlets
    Bishop’s Chef hats
    Nuns habits
    Royal Crowns
    Etc etc

        1. Rugbyfan

          Ha! they were the business! disintegrated in the rain. The ol’ woollen bands are still going strong!
          The sellers must make a killing on these!

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