Ireland will Vote on Removing Blasphemy from Constitution

Ireland will Vote on Removing Blasphemy from Constitution

Ireland will Vote on Removing Blasphemy from Constitution
Photograph by Mike Peel ( [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons
This law has no bearing in modern Ireland

Charlie Flanagan, the Justice and Equality Minister of Ireland, announced that the Government of Ireland has officially given its approval to amend the Constitution[/tweetit]. This will be done through a referendum and it concerns the removal of blasphemy as an offense. This referendum will be held in October. It could be held probably on the same day as the Irish presidential election.

Ireland will Vote on Removing Blasphemy from Constitution[/tweetthis]

According to the Irish constitution, any utterance or the publication of indecent, blasphemous or indecent matter is regarded as an offense. This can be punishable as per law.

This move by the Irish Government is as part of its plan to revamp its constitution. The Irish constitutional framework is one of the most conservative in Europe. The blasphemy action is paired with the abortion referendum in May. The latter resulted in Ireland voting for abortion to be legalized. The minister said via a press release that these are important steps for shoring up Ireland’s global reputation.

Minister Flanagan compared his country to some others in different parts of the world where blasphemy is punishable by death. He said that such laws are dangerous to the lives of people who do not subscribe to those pushing these laws. He continued to say that such situations are in abeyance with Irish values and beliefs. Flanagan said that he hoped to initiate this specific Bill in Dail in upcoming weeks. This will make sure that a Referendum Commission gets established. The Oireachtas can then consider this Constitution Amendment Bill. This decision to hold this specific blasphemy referendum is part of the broader referenda which the Irish Government has committed itself to hold during the near future.

The Irish minister reiterated that by removing such a provision from the country’s constitution, the Irish Government can send a clear message to the world that the laws of blasphemy are not reflective of Irish values. It is even surprising that laws like these continue to exist. Irish lawmakers who harbor a progressive outlook have also focused their sights on a law within the constitution which says that the life of a woman is within her home. As per newspaper reports, Irish lawmakers will hold a vote to change the constitutional phasing which prioritizes the role of women in the home compared to her place of work. It is unclear when this latter referendum would be held.


Follow the Conversation on Twitter