Flanagan publishes legislation for repeal of constitutional ban on blasphemy

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has published legislation to repeal the offence of publication or utterance of blasphemous matter from Article 40 of the Constitution.

The Thirty-seventh Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2018 will be debated in the Oireachtas in September and it is intended that the referendum will take place in October.

Mr Flanagan said: “Successive reports, most recently, the Sixth Report of the Constitutional Convention, have recommended that the offence of blasphemy be removed from our Constitution.

“Its removal will bring us into line with internationally accepted norms and will re-affirm the message that we are a tolerant and pluralist society where freedom of expression is valued and important.”

The minister also said hoped that debate around the referendum “will be conducted in a calm and inclusive manner” and that he does “not believe that this matter is especially controversial”.

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