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New referendum to remove the offence of blasphemy from the Constitution planned

Evoke.ie logoEvoke.ie 13/06/2018 Galen English
a group of people standing in front of a crowd © Associated Newspapers (Ireland) Limited, t/a dmg Media Ireland

The country may have just gone to the polls to repeal the Eighth but we may be back in the polling booths by the end of the year for a new referendum.

This time the Government say they want the country to vote on removing the offence of blasphemy from the Constitution.

The Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan suggested the Referendum might take place on the same day as the Presidential elections in October.

He said in a statement: ‘I am pleased to announce that the Government today agreed to my proposal to hold a Referendum to remove the offence of blasphemy from the Constitution’.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd posing for the camera: Pic: AP Photo/Peter Morrison © Associated Newspapers (Ireland) Limited, t/a dmg Media Ireland Pic: AP Photo/Peter Morrison

He said holding the referendum was important for the country’s international reputation.

‘Regrettably, there are some countries in the world where blasphemy is an offence, the punishment of which is being put to death,’ he said.

‘In these countries, such laws are not an anachronism but a very real threat to the lives of those who do not share the views of those enforcing the laws. Such situations are abhorrent to our beliefs and values.’

Jack Klugman wearing a suit and tie: Referendum © Associated Newspapers (Ireland) Limited, t/a dmg Media Ireland Referendum

Mr Flanagan said he hopes to initiate the Bill in the Dáil in the upcoming weeks so a Referendum Commission can be established and the Oireachtas can consider the Constitution Amendment Bill.

Mr Flanagan added: ‘By removing this provision from our Constitution, we can send a strong message to the world that laws against blasphemy do not reflect Irish values and that we do not believe such laws should exist’.

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