Repealing parts of the constitution is something Ireland has become a dab hand at. Now the government is proposing to host a referendum on removing blasphemy from the Irish constitution.
Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan brought the proposal to Tuesday’s meeting in the Dail and the cabinet agreed. The referendum is likely to coincide with a vote on a clause that priorities woman's domestic role overwork and the presidential election, if one takes place.
Current blasphemy laws in Ireland, article 40.6.1 (i), indicates that a person or otherwise can be fined up to €25,000 for a blasphemous act. Blasphemy is defined as a: “matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion”.
The law was updated in 2009 and as of yet, no one has been prosecuted. In 2016, Garda investigated a complaint made accusing Stephen Fry of blasphemy after he declared he did not believe in God on Gay Byrne's Meaning Of Life.
Advertisements, media and the film industry have been most impacted by the law as several projects have undergone censorship due to being considered 'blasphemous'.
Of course, the brilliant minds of the world took this opportunity to poke some serious fun at the ridiculousness of it all.Some welcomed the break away from the emotionally distressing referendums of the past:
OK but after two very heavy, personal, and distressing referendum debates, I am so looking forward to a referendum on blasphemy. This is gonna be gas.
— Grain (@WisdomToothDog) June 12, 2018
“Blasphemy” is what it’s called when a person who holds an irrational belief has their feelings hurt.
— Nichole T (@SkepticNikki) June 12, 2018
I might sign up to be the official No spokesperson for the blasphemy ref. Few fake stats, few crazy press releases, be grand.
— Daithi (@daithigor) June 12, 2018
Ok, so, Mr. Quinn doesn't think we need a blasphemy law. It goes against every fiber of my being to agree with him on anything, so my campaign to keep the blasphemy law begins today. First things first, badges.
— Sue Kirk (@SueKirk) June 12, 2018
Many were hoping that alternatives would make the list of constitutional issues we need to repeal.
And here was me hoping that the next referendum would be to #LegaliseWeed . Maybe the next one after #blasphemy? At this stage it feels like all those times I went to xtravision with my older cousins and was told "your turn next". Never happened ?♂️
— Steven D (@TinyGiant9) June 13, 2018
Or removing the 'nonsense' at the beginning of the constitution:
#blasphemy #referendum In #Ireland this September, and Women can vote too if they have said their prayers to God and finished all their housework.. Can we not do a vote on all the nonsense Irish Constitution clauses together? .. not like they are hard to spot!!??? pic.twitter.com/3avwC2DanI
— DeFonz (@dezfonz) June 13, 2018
The referendum is expected to be held in October.