Approval given for referendum on removal of blasphemy offence

A referendum on the removal of the offence of blasphemy from the Constitution could be held on the same day as the presidential election, the Minister for Justice has said.

Charlie Flanagan was given approval by the Cabinet to hold the referendum in October.

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.

Known as the “woman in the home” clause, it has been criticised for its sexist language by Irish politicians and activists.

Mr Flanagan said: “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.”

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.

- Press Association

More on this topic

Secrecy law on abuse provokes suspicions

Taoiseach: Ethos of public funded hospital should reflect society as a whole not just one religion

Australian Cardinal George Pell to spend his first night in prison

Vatican says cardinal Pell's abuse convictions are ‘painful’ and shocking

More in this Section

11 arrested during raids targeting loyalist paramilitaries

'Pitch ideas' to access €20m fund, says health minister

Cork Events Centre delayed again as issue becomes 'political football'

Businesses and Cork GAA club join environmental groups in battle against single-use plastics


Lifestyle

Has KRIB sounded the death knell for the immersion?

Bake: Delicious recipes with chocolate - the ultimate dessert ingredient

Trend of the week: How to simmer in a boiler suit

Ask an expert: Is my IVF child more likely to have behaviour problems?

More From The Irish Examiner