Atheist Ireland welcomes positive exit poll figures on blasphemy referendum

Exit polls suggest that today’s Yes vote might be between 69% (Irish Times exit poll) and 71% (RTE exit poll).

We must remember that these are only exit polls, and not the official result of the vote, which we will not know until tomorrow or Sunday.

Whatever the actual result, Atheist Ireland would like to thank everyone who has campaigned for nearly a decade to make this referendum happen, and then achieve such a good vote.

We have consistently raised this issue with the Irish Government and Department of Justice, as well as at the United Nations, OSCE and the Council of Europe.

If the exit polls are accurate, this will be a great result for freedom of religion, belief, and speech, and for Irish politics based on integrity instead of nods and winks.

We will have removed a medieval crime, that was added to our constitution in 1937, and crowbarred into our statute books a decade ago.

Our laws will be able to protect people from harm, not protect ideas from criticism, and our media outlets will no longer have to self censor themselves.

We will no longer be breaching our international human rights obligations, as we have been told by the United Nations Human Rights Committee and the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission.

States that execute people for blasphemy will no longer be able to cite the Irish law at the United Nations, to justify their repression of religious minorities.

We will have finally acted on the advice of every group set up to examine the Irish constitution, all of which have concluded that the blasphemy law is obsolete.

This includes the Law reform Commission in 1991, the Constitution Review Group in 1996, the All-Party Oireachtas Committee in 2008, and the Constitutional Convention in 2013.

All of this depends on how accurate the exit polls are, and we are not assuming that they are accurate until we see the actual vote results this weekend.

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