Government approves referendum on removing blasphemy from the constitution

The Government has approved plans for a referendum on removing the offence of blasphemy from the Constitution.

The required Constitution Amendment Bill will now be drafted by the Department of Justice to allow a referendum to take place in October.

Speaking after a Cabinet meeting yesterday afternoon, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said: “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.”

“In terms of Ireland’s international 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.  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.

“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.”