There has been yet further disappointment for John Hamill at the Equality Tribunal. The Atheist Ireland crusader had taken a complaint against Dublin City Council on grounds of religious discrimination under the Equal Status Act.

Hamill, who claims to be an “ordained Minister in the Congregationalist Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster”, insists that he was excluded from participation in Dublin’s Interfaith Charter established in 2017 to “promote dialogue” in the city.

The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster arose as a minor internet prank in the mid-2000s and has been taken up as a rallying cause by nerds the world over. Essentially a pseudo religion intended to show up the absurdities and privileges often enjoyed by organised faith.

Thus, adjudicators in Dublin had to endure a session of wearisome arguments and in-jokes about ‘Pastafarianism’ as Hamill attempted to establish legitimacy. Like a latter day Saint Peter, Hamill even denied any knowledge of ‘church’ founder Bobby Henderson, who is on record acknowledging that the whole thing is a charade.

For their part, lawyers for DCC came armed with a list of similar vexatious attempts from around the world and perhaps most damaging for Hamill’s case, a European Convention on Human Rights ruling which states for a religion to have any credibility there must be at least some “cogency of deep and imponderable matters”. The Workplace Relations Commission ruled that the complaint was “not well founded”.

Hamill has taken a similarly unsuccessful case against the religious might of er, Monaghan Farmers’ Market where he says Atheist Ireland were denied a stall. With no luck at the WRC, that case is now heading for the Circuit Court.