Blasphemy law delayed until October

The Defamation Act will probably not become operable until mid to late October, because the rules of court need to be amended to accommodate it. The Law Reform Division of the Department of Justice has confirmed that:

“The Act is subject to a commencement order. It is intended to commence all provisions of the Act simultaneously. However, it is not possible to make a commencement order at present as the Circuit and Superior Court Rules need to be amended to accommodate a number of procedural changes in the new legislation. It is not possble to give an exact date yet for commencement of the Act but it is expected to be mid to late October.”

The Minister has the option of commencing different parts of the Act at different times. Atheist Ireland will continue to ask him to delay commencing the blasphemy sections, until such time as a referendum can be held to remove the reference to blasphemy from the Constitution.


  1. Avatar
    Mujaahid July 30, 2009

    In the meantime MPAC Ireland and other interested parties will lobby for a specific incitement to religious hatred provision, maybe we’ll meet somewhere in the middle.

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    Mujaahid July 30, 2009

    Ah now Talia/Riddler and whoever else you are there’s a passing mention but not sufficient for our purposes. We’ll be arguing that in 21st century Ireland it is simply discriminatory to shape law around a homogeneous wet dream that no longer exists. The fact is, despite Atheist Ireland’s claims, there is a significant minority in Ireland and Europe who believe blasphemy is very relevant in the 21st century.

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    davidmww July 30, 2009

    I believe that blasphemy is relevant in the 21st century.

    I believe in blasphemy.

    I believe that religion is, on the whole, a negative thing both for the individual religious believer and for society in general. There are many reasons for this, not least of which is the fairly obvious fact that the central claims of most religions are simply not true, and that, generally speaking, it is better for an individual not to believe in things which are not true.

    The reason for this is that if an individual believes that there is such a thing as a “holy book” which acts as an infallible guide to life, authored by a supernatural “Creator of the Universe,” this has an adverse effect on that individual’s moral development. If that book was written, say, in the 7th century, then that individual’s moral outlook will be mired in 7th century prejudice. For example, as a result of a few words written in a 7th century book they may believe that homosexuality is a “sin” – in spite of the fact that it is highle debatable to regard it even as a moral question. The belief removes the need for the debate.

    The same goes for other important issues, such as the equality of women, sex education, and genetic research, to name but a few.

    If a significant proportion of the population are, in effect, morally retarded by their religious beliefs, this becomes a problem for society as a whole. Societal progress is held back, and it becomes a moral obligation for the more progressive members of that society to combat the cause of this delay.

    Fortunately, the central claims of most religions are not only not true – they are obviously and often hilariously not true. Deep down, religious people know this, which is why they are so sensitive to ridicule.

    And that is why blasphemous ridicule is such an important weapon in the hands of progressives. True, most religious people won’t be dissuaded by a bit of mockery – but it does cause them a certain amount of psychological discomfort which may, in the long run, lead them to abandon their delusions. More importantly, blasphemous ridicule – especially if done amusingly – certainly has the effect of discouraging the undecided from making the mistake of becoming religiously committed.

    So, I believe in blasphemy. I believe that the blasphemer is doing a favour both to each individual believer and to society as a whole. I believe that in a religion benighted world, blasphemy is a moral duty.

    I don’t expect you to respect my belief. In fact, I invite you to make fun of it all you like. But I do expect you to rerognise my right to hold it, as I recognise yours.

  4. Avatar
    Paul Markey July 30, 2009

    Quote: “The fact is, despite Atheist Ireland’s claims…”

    The fact is, despite MPAC’s statement in the video about Irish Blasphemy on YouTube, he never gave any link or statistics about his claim that “the majority of Ireland see’s this law as a good thing”.

    The majority of Irish citizens didn’t even know this law was coming up again. It got next to no press or media coverage.

    If you need a law that means that someone cannot question or critique your religious beliefs, possibly offending you – then I need a law that means that people cannot question or critique that Metal, Rock and instrumental genres are the best. If you offend me or disagree, I get to charge you with some rediculous law… because it’s my right not to be offended.

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    Gavin July 31, 2009

    Please forgive the repost.

    There is currently a petition online which calls for the repeal of the blasphemy law through constitutional amendment at the next workable referendum (Lisbon II or immediately following).
    This petition has has a fairly poor response so far, perhaps because poorly worded or perhaps because progressives, unlike conservatives have a difficult time organising. Please read this petition, if you agree with it sign it. And just as importantly, if you agree with it, email all the citizens you can so they might make the same choice.

    Gavin Foley

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    Johnny July 31, 2009

    I just read about this law on a Swedish blog.

    How can this happen? Can anyone from Ireland please just try to explain to me how your parliament have voted yes to enforcing a new blashpemy law.

    This is so utterly unreal. This is almost a life altering experience in the worst way.

    Is this really happening?


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    Nemesis6 August 02, 2009

    And the person who wants this crowbarred into Irish law is a homophobe. Savor the irony.

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    Half of Pinky and the Brain August 03, 2009

    Economic boom=Rich Ireland touted as one of the most progressive countries in the world.

    Recession=Not so rich Ireland starts enforcing religious laws.

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    Sean August 05, 2009

    And the person who wants this crowbarred into Irish law is a homophobe. Savor the irony.

    Hey! It’s their right to be homophobic on behalf of sky daddy. God had some fun with fire from the sky thing, but these days he prefers to leave it any idiot who can read a few verses of scripture in order to justify their serious mental issues.

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    Mujaahid August 06, 2009

    I’m sure it takes more than a few verses to justify anything Sean – bit of an oversimplification there. But tell me, what’s the excuse for your obvious mental issues?

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    Sean August 15, 2009

    I’m sure it takes more than a few verses to justify anything Sean – bit of an oversimplification there. But tell me, what’s the excuse for your obvious mental issues?

    It’s not the verses that are solely to blame, but it the belief that the Qur’an (or any holy book) is the immutable word of God will certainly cause problems.

    Tell me what my mental issues are so that I may offer you reasons or excuses for them.

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    Sigmund August 21, 2009

    The first set of international action against the attack on freedom of speech has happened.
    Karl Sigfrid, a conservative member of the Swedish parliment has filed a complain to the European Commission.

    According to him:
    “The new legislation has made blasphemous speech illegal, which means that a citizen of the European Union can be punished for making a comment that is determined to be offensive to a substantial number of followers of a religion.
    The punishment of a fine, up to €25,000, can hardly be consistent with human-rights obligations under the EU treaties, and I have therefore filed a complaint to the European Commission.
    “Countries with strong free-speech laws, such as Sweden, have reasons to worry about the Irish blasphemy legislation. The immediate concern is that Swedish citizens, while traveling within the European Union, can run into legal processes and be punished for merely expressing a view on a religion or religious symbol.”

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    Mi West August 28, 2009

    I see. Under the influence of some Irish beers (my hopes are), the republic is about to sell the freedom of expression to the church. OK then, at least don’t sell cheap !! 😉 Making it smart can solve the crisis:

    The Christians had called the Jews “Christ murderers” for centuries and therefore everybody in the Vatican MUST be sentenced to pay a EUR 25000 fine to Ireland!

    Islamist countries are persecuting Christians and therefore everybody there MUST be sentenced to pay a EUR 25000 fine to Ireland!

    The Hindus have been teasing muslims several times and therefore each Hindu (a billion or so individuals) MUST be sentenced to pay a EUR 25000 fine to Ireland! 25 trillion Euro to be invoiced to India alone!
    That might almost cover the costs of allt the repeated reminders to pay, being sent all over the world… 🙂

  14. Avatar
    Charles O'Rourke August 28, 2009

    Hello from Sweden, heard about you new Blasphemy Law and was worried about the mental health of that country. Why is this law necessary?, has the citizenry of Ireland been inflicted by a virus that has caused an outbreak of blasphemy, has en epidemic broken out where people burst out into defametory tirades against relegions and hurting each others feelings by theological disputes.I have the impression that the Irish use humor in abundance to get along in life and now this.Has anyone felt their beleifs have been hurt by blasphemy?. Who wins by this law and who looses?.Last time we had a blasphemy trial here in Sweden was against August Strindberg and he made mince meat of the court and that was a hundred years ago.Yes we do have strong laws protecting the written word and the freedom of speech and intend to keep it that way.If the law goes through in the parliment then Ireland can become a haven for every crack pot relegion on earth whom you are obliged to protect by using the full force of the law. Strange that Ireland is not as keen on protecting it,s children from relegious criminals.

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    Charles O'Rourke August 28, 2009

    It has received media coverage here in Sweden, but the tone in the disscusions has been one of “Ireland is a very special place”, we must go outside “the box” when disscusing Ireland”. Oh for the days of Father Ted.

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    Sean September 04, 2009

    Who wins by this law and who looses?.

    The fundies are the only winners. They’re the ones who’ll mobilise their members as soon as they’re offended by something. Most of us don’t pay religion that much attention.

    Although, the fundies may not see this law working quite as they’d expect. Blasphemy laws can only work effectively when the state has a single preferred religion. This is why most blasphemy laws specifically refer to (or infer) that the legislation is there to protect a specific religion. Evilbubbs is right in saying that it’s kind of odd that the all powerful creator of the universe should need legal protection.

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    Charles O'Rourke September 06, 2009

    This could be the start of a wave of humor at which the Irish execell. Good point you made that there has to be a preferred religon in whose favour the law is exercised, As it looks all religons qualify for protection if a considerable number of people feel offended. What is a considerable number of people?.The possible scenarios coming out of this legislation are mind boggling.Fundie one insults Fundie two who insults three and Fundie one. No court wants to take on that.

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    Jack Butler September 08, 2009

    I wonder what effect the Blasphemy legislation will have on the Lisbon referendum.
    Is there an opportunity presented by the campaign to highlight the issue?
    I am not advocating one side or the other, but perhaps we may use the elevated state of political debate that can be expected in the coming weeks to highlight the issue and to explore how the EU regard the issue and if they can/may/will take a stance. Is there a case for the EU’s involvement. Would such an involvement be beneficial?
    Will the Lisbon Treaty affect Irish law (blasphemy)?
    I don’t know as there has been little debate on this point. Antone got any info?

  19. Avatar
    Neil Barrett November 05, 2009

    We need to organise against this, perhaps we could lobby support from well known atheists and free speech advocates. I can think of no one better than Christopher Hitchens and/or Salman Rushdie.

  20. Avatar
    bockedy December 28, 2009

    the ministerial order has been signed — 1st Jan 2010 is the operative date.


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