DUBLIN – Ireland will hold a referendum in October to remove the offence of blasphemy from its constitution, Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan said on Tuesday.
The Irish government has approved preparing a bill to remove blasphemy as part of a commitment to constitutional reforms. The referendum will probably be held on the same day as the presidential election.
Government ministers see last month’s abortion referendum as a milestone on a path to change for a country that was one of Europe’s most socially conservative a few decades ago, and are keen to push forward with other constitutional reforms.
After the blasphemy referendum, a vote on a controversial reference in the constitution to a “woman’s life within the home” is likely.
“In terms of Ireland’s international reputation, this is an important step,” Flanagan said in a press release on Tuesday.
“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.” Reuters