Irish retailers blasphemy challenge – order Charlie Hebdo for sale
The Irish Times reports that Irish retailers have ordered the Charlie Hebdo commemorative magazine which could spark a blasphemy challenge under the Irish Law.
The report (click here to view) states that
More than 120 Irish news agents have placed orders for a total of 2,000 copies of this week’s edition of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Readers outside of France have struggled to get a copy of the magazine, with just 100 arriving into the United Kingdom through Menzies Distribution.
A spokesman for the distributor’s sister company in Ireland said 122 retailers here have placed orders for the magazine but it remains to be seen whether any copies will even arrive into the country.
It is not yet clear what the reaction of the Irish authorities would be to such an act that would probably have gone unnoticed before the events in Paris and round the world in January 2005 that has rendered it now so controversial.
Would the Irish authorities attempt to seize such potentially blasphemous material at the point of import as has happened in the past with UK newspapers containing details of UK abortion clinics? But importing is not the offence under the law, publication is although the act does allow for:
37.— (1) Where a person is convicted of an offence under section 36 , the court may issue a warrant—
(a) authorising any member of the Garda Síochána to enter (if necessary by the use of reasonable force) at all reasonable times any premises (including a dwelling) at which he or she has reasonable grounds for believing that copies of the statement to which the offence related are to be found, and to search those premises and seize and remove all copies of the statement found therein,
(b) directing the seizure and removal by any member of the Garda Síochána of all copies of the statement to which the offence related that are in the possession of any person,
(c) specifying the manner in which copies so seized and removed shall be detained and stored by the Garda Síochána.
But this is where a person is convicted. Nobody has yet been convicted. And the publishers are in France. Would the Irish government really try to prosecute the Charlie Hebdo publishers for blasphemy? That would really bring the ridicule and wrath of the free world down on Ireland and more specifically the Irish government.
So hopefully this ridiculous Irish blasphemy law will die a death from over exposure and lack of use. And hopefully yet another blasphemy challenge that goes unprosecuted will spark the Irish government into granting the referendum that the Irish people want – so that we can show the world that Ireland belongs in the developed secular camp rather than the religious theocratic camps.