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Posts Tagged ‘blasphemy’

Blasphemy Law for Repeal?

March 15, 2010 6 comments

A small piece in yesterday’s Sunday Times appears to have passed the Irish media relatively unnoticed. Minister for Justice, Dermot Ahern, has claimed that he will seek a constitutional amendment to remove the requirement for a criminal law of blasphemy in Ireland.  Atheist Ireland are re-reporting a Sunday Times story quoting the Minister as saying that he will advocate that the referendum be held at the same time as the vote on the children’s rights amendment and an amendment to establish a permanent court of civil appeal. Fiona previously wrote about the law here.

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The Offence of Blasphemy and Constitutional Change

January 3, 2010 10 comments

On New Year’s Day the Defamation Act 2009 came into force, including the controversial s. 36 provision relating to the offence of blasphemy. This has been greeted with much publicity and attention in the international media and by an attempt on www.blasphemy.ie to intentionally contravene the provision. Indeed, today’s Sunday Times reports that the founder of Atheist Ireland, Michael Nugent, intends to send a copy of the 25 allegedly blasphemous quotes published on the site in order to try to provoke prosecution. As reported yesterday, however, my view is that this is unlikely to ‘succeed’. Quite apart from the debates around the appropriateness of such a law in a democratic society, it is important to note that the offence has been constructed in such a tight manner that, it seems to be, to be extremely difficult to commit the offence—either intentionally or accidentally. Indeed, the attempt on www.blasphemy.ie would tend to further back up this view. Read more…

Blasphemy, Sedition and the Defamation Act 2009

September 11, 2009 5 comments

lordlesterJuly 2009 produced a strange legislative symmetry in the Oireachtas and the UK Parliament. At the same time both legislatures found themselves debating the abolition of the offence of sedition, a common law offence which was already all but moribund at the time of Ireland’s independence. In his excitement at the prospect of the proposed abolition of sedition in the United Kingdom in the Coroners and Justice Bill currently before Parliament, Lord Lester of Herne Hill (left) cast a baleful eye across the Irish Sea at the ‘hilariously ironic’ events in the Oireachtas. For, just as the United Kingdom finally moves to abolish the offence of sedition, a mere 30 years after a UK Law Commission Working Paper advised it to do so, Ireland seems unable to extirpate this offence from its Constitution.

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