The Cabinet has signalled that a referendum to remove blasphemy from the Constitution will go ahead.

 

The proposal to remove the Article was brought to a meeting on Tuesday by the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan.

 

The Cabinet approved the request and the referendum is expected to be held in October of this year. 

 

 

Reportedly, it will coincide with another referendum on 'women in the home'. 

 

Voters will have to the choice to remove or keep Article 40.6.1 (i)

 

Blasphemy is defined as “matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion." 

 

 

The Law Reform Commission gave their recommendation to remove the Article in 1991.

 

However, the Defamation Act 2009 made blasphemy an offence.

 

An individual could be penalised up to €25,000, if found guilty.

 

 

In relation to the news, the Minister for Justice said:

 

“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.”

 

In recent times, the Article came back into the spotlight when complaints were made about an RTÉ interview.

 

During the interview, comedian Stephen Fry made critical commentary about God.

 

 

A post shared by Hell Yeah Stephen Fry (@frydaylove) on

 

A Garda inquiry was launched, but no prosecution was ever brought.

 

Later this year, voters will also have the chance to change a constitutional clause that prioritises a woman’s role in the home over a career.

 

Article 41.2 of the Constitution “recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved”.

 

“The State shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home.”

 

It is believed both referendums will be put forward to voters in October.

 

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