Ireland's €25000 fine for blasphemy might end

Name in vain

Name in vain

"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", Mr Flanagan said in a statement today.

The decision to hold the referendum around the issue of blasphemy is part of the Programme for Government commitment and is part of a wider number of referenda which the Government has committed to holding.

It could be held on the same day as an election for the office of president, and alongside another referendum to remove the part of the Constitution that refers to the woman's place in the home.

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said: "In terms of Ireland's worldwide reputation, this is an important step".

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

"They're a real threat to the lives of those who do not share the views of those enforcing the laws".

In Ireland, blasphemy against Christianity is prohibited by the constitution and carries a maximum fine of €25,000.

Part of Article 40.6.1 states: "The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law".

Ireland's current legislation makes it illegal to say or publish anything that is "grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters sacred by any religion".

The Minister, TD Charlie Flanagan said the drafting of the required Constitution Amendment Bill has also been approved. However, in 2015, Irish authorities launched an investigation under blasphemy laws into British actor and comedian Stephen Fry. Just one person formally complained to the Irish national broadcaster RTÉ about Fry's interview, in which he called God stupid, selfish, and "quite clearly a maniac".

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