General scheme of Blasphemy Bill published by minister

General scheme of Blasphemy Bill published by minister

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has published the general scheme of the Repeal of Offence of Publication or Utterance of Blasphemous Matter Bill.

Blasphemy was repealed from the Constitution after May's referendum saw the 'Yes' side win almost 65% of the vote.

Minister Flanagan: “During the course of the referendum campaign, it was made very clear that, in the event of the referendum proposal being agreed, the Government would respond by bringing forward legislation which would repeal sections 36 and 37 of the Defamation Act 2009 which provide a statutory basis for the offence of blasphemy.

"The repeal of those sections is the key element in the General Scheme which has been published on my Department’s website. The proposed repeal is fully in accord with the policy that it should no longer be possible to initiate a prosecution for blasphemy in this jurisdiction.”

“I would like to confirm that my Department is finalising a review of the Defamation Act 2009 which will address issues other than those falling within the scope of the Scheme which has just been published."

Issues to be covered by the review will include the following:

  • The respective roles of judge and jury in defamation cases
  • The defences available to the media in the context of public-interest news reporting
  • The level of damages which can be awarded by Irish courts in defamation cases

The full text can be seen here

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