Minister for Communications calls for blasphemy referendum
Irish Times reports 1st February 2015: “Minister for Communications calls for blasphemy referendum”
The Irish Times Article reports Alex White, the Minister for Communications as “The government should seriously consider holding a referendum to remove the constitutional ban on blasphemy during the lifetime of the current Dáil. The Government should implement recommendations of Constitutional Convention.”
This is yet another minister going against the lead of the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, who has called for dropping the referendum commitment announced by the government in October 2014.
The full Irish Times article can be seen here and an extract of it is shown below:
The government should seriously consider holding a referendum to remove the constitutional ban on blasphemy during the lifetime of the current Dáil, the Minister for Communications has said.
Alex White said he understood and respected the view expressed by Taoiseach Enda Kenny when he said the Government would be holding just two referendums this year and the removal of blasphemy from the constitution was not one of them.
However, Mr White pointed out that in 1991 the Law Reform Commission made a recommendation to delete the blasphemy reference contained in Article 40.6.1 of the Constitution and that the 1996 Constitution Review Group took a similar view.
Protestors in Pakistan react to ‘blasphemous’ Charlie Hebdo cartoons. An international coalition has just launched the End Blasphemy Laws campaign, aimed at ending legislation against criticising or ridiculing religion worldwide.
Blasphemy referendum law needs to be repealed
Mr White said a 2008 All-Party Committee report on the Constitution – a committee on which he served – made a similar recommendation as did the Constitutional Convention more recently with its proposal to replace criminalising blasphemy with a ban on incitement to religious hatred.
“I strongly believe that this is the right course of action to take. Two constitutional referendums are due to take place before the summer but there has been no Government decision as yet on whether to hold more referendums during the remaining period of the 31st Dáil,” said Mr White.
“The Taoiseach has expressed a view which I understand and respect. My own view is that the Government should look carefully at this, and consider finishing out, as far as possible, the work programme arising from the Constitutional Convention.