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Ireland votes to remove blasphemy from Constitution by 64.85% to 35.15%

Voters have overwhelmingly supported the proposal to remove blasphemy as an offence from the Constitution. The final result from Friday’s referendum shows that 64.85% voted Yes while 35.15% voted No.  A total of 951,650 people voted for the change, with 515,808 opposing the move. According to RTÉ, Ireland’s National Television and Radio Broadcaster, the turnout was 43.79%.


The Irish Constitution currently holds that blasphemy is a criminal offence and it is defined as such in The Defamation Act of 2009.

Following the result of this referendum the word “blasphemous” will be removed from the Constitution and the Oireachtas – the Irish Parliament – will then change the law.

RTÉ reported, that the Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan welcomed the result of the referendum. “It has always been my view that there is no room for a provision such as this in our Constitution. Ireland is rightly proud of our reputation as a modern, liberal society.”

He said Friday’s vote was another significant step in the country’s Constitutional history.

In addition to the removal of the word ‘blasphemous’ from Article 40.6.1 of the Constitution, the Minister will now also move to repeal sections 36 and 37 of the Defamation Act 2009.

Nobody has been prosecuted for the offence in Ireland since 1855, in connection with an alleged case of Bible-burning.

It was included in anti-defamation legislation passed by the government in 2009.

Blasphemy was defined as publishing or uttering something “grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters sacred by any religion, thereby intentionally causing outrage among a substantial number of adherents of that religion”. Anybody found guilty could face a €25,000 fine.

British comedian Stephen Fry almost fell foul of the law in 2015 when he gave a television interview during which he was asked what he would say to God.

He told RTÉ: “Bone cancer in children, what’s that about? “How dare you create a world with such misery … it’s not right, it’s utterly, utterly evil. 

“Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded stupid God who creates a world so full of injustice and pain?”

A viewer complained to the authorities, who launched an investigation, but Mr Fry was never charged with blasphemy.

Source: RTÉ 

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