Niall Carson/PA Wire

Voters back scrapping blasphemy offence from Ireland's constitution

Sun 28 Oct 2018
By Alex Williams

Ireland has signalled another move towards becoming a secular society, with voters agreeing to the proposed removal of blasphemy as an offence from the country's constitution.

In total, 951,650 (64.85 per cent of the electorate) supported the idea in a referenda held on Friday, while 515,808 (35.15 per cent) opposed it.

Welcoming the result, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: "It is very much part of an ongoing campaign in many ways to reform our constitution, to make it a 21st century constitution or a 21st century Republic."


Since the 1960s, Ireland has undergone a process of social liberalisation, contrasting its strongly-Catholic and conservative past.

Ireland has voted in favour of repealing a series of laws - allowing for divorce, same-sex marriage and early stage abortion, in recent years.

Changing the law concerning blasphemy was backed by the Catholic Church but some Islamic leaders opposed it.

Niall Carson/PA Wire
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar briefs the media on the government's plans for a referendum on Ireland's restrictive abortion laws, following a specially convened cabinet meeting at Government Buildings in Dublin.


Since 1855, no one has been prosecuted for blasphemy in Ireland. Yet, anyone convicted could face a fine of 25,000 euros.

Blasphemy was defined as publishing or uttering something "grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters sacred by any religion, thereby intentionally causing outrage among a substantial number of adherents of that religion".

The referenda coincided with a presidential election in which Michael D Higgins was formally re-elected.

Stay up to date with the latest news stories from a Christian perspective. Sign up to our daily newsletter and receive more stories like this straight to your inbox every morning.

Daily news direct to your inbox
Your News Feed

Stay informed and inform others with up to the minute news from a Christian perspective. 

Daily News email

RSS feeds

News Widgets

You may also like...

It is too easy to assume that the United Kingdom of England,... More

We all know that the 310 mile border between Northern Ireland... More

The decision by Nissan to produce their new model car in Japan... More

Seven of Scotland's top church leaders have urged the home secretary... More