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How will you vote on the Blasphemy Referendum?

How will you vote on the Blasphemy Referendum?

  • Tá / Yes - to change the Constitution

    Votes: 15 32.6%
  • Níl / No - To keep the current Constitution

    Votes: 23 50.0%
  • Cant Vote/Wont Vote

    Votes: 7 15.2%
  • Spoilt Ballot

    Votes: 1 2.2%

  • Total voters
    46
  • Poll closed .

Superhans

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Friday 26th October 2018 will see the referendum to change the Irish constitution on blasphemy.



From RTE
Blasphemy referendum: Your questions answered

Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy, Chairperson of the Referendum Commission, appeared on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, to answer questions from the public on Friday's referendum on blasphemy.
What does this referendum mean?
This referendum is about the removal of the word blasphemous from the Constitution. The Constitution says that citizens have the right to express freely their convictions and opinions, but there are certain limitations on that right, so for example under the Constitution the publication or the utterance, that’s the publication or saying of something blasphemous, must be a criminal offence and so blasphemy is a criminal offence and the offence is defined in The Defamation Act of 2009.
And if the majority of the people vote Yes, well then that word will be removed from the Constitution and the Oireachtas will be permitted then to change the law providing that blasphemy is a criminal offence.
And if the majority vote No, then the constitution remains unchanged and blasphemy remains a criminal offence.

So why is this referendum being held?
Ultimately every referendum is held because the Oireachtas has determined that it should be held, so although the Oireachtas decides when a referendum should be held and if a referendum should be held, it is only the people who can actually change the Constitution by voting in the referendum and that is why it is so important for people to vote, because the Constitution belongs to the people.

And what is blasphemy?
The definition of blasphemy is contained within The Defamation Act of 2009 and that's the legal definition of blasphemy and it is an offence to publish or say something that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion thereby causing outrage amongst a substantial number of the followers of that religion and with the intention to cause that outrage.
And under the 2009 Act, if somebody is found guilty there are our charges for that?
If a person is found guilty of that offence under Section 36 of The Defamation Act 2009 a person can be fined up to €25,000. There is no prison sentence provided for within the legislation.

Why are we having a referendum on this matter and why now?
The referendum is held because Oireachtas has determined that it should be held, so that is the reason why were having a referendum. And it's very important that the people vote in the referendum because only the people can change the Constitution. And that's what it's all about obviously, an amendment to the Constitution.

The legal definition of blasphemy comes from that Act of nine years ago?
That’s the Defamation Act of 2009: to publish or broadcast something grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion thereby causing outrage amongst a substantial number of the followers of that religion - and with the intention to do so.

Does the article in the Constitution apply equally to all beliefs or religious persuasions and not just Christians or Catholics?
Well the article in the Constitution what that says is that blasphemy is a criminal offence in effect. Blasphemy is then defined under the 2009 Defamation Act and it applies to all religion, not just to Christians or to Catholics, as I said there the definition says in relation to matters held sacred by any religion so it applies equally to all religions.
If there's a Yes vote in the referendum on Friday does the 2009 Act remain in place?
Well what happens if the majority vote Yes the Oireachtas will then be permitted to change the law: the Constitution will no longer require that blasphemy be a criminal offence and unless and until the Oireachtas changes the law then The Defamation Act 2009 remains in place and blasphemy remains on our statute books.

What would the legal effect of a No vote be then?
The legal effect of a No vote would be that the word blasphemous would remain within the Constitution and blasphemy would continue to be a criminal offence and would continue on our statute books.

Why are the words seditious and indecent not also being removed from the same article, and who defines these words?
In addition to referring to blasphemy, Article 46.1 Sub-paragraph 1 of the Constitution states that it is an offence punishable by law to publish or utter something seditious or indecent, but the only proposal in this referendum is to remove the word blasphemous from the Constitution. The other two elements of Article 46 One dealing with sedition and indecency are not the subject of the referendum and therefore they will remain within the Constitution whether there is a Yes or a No vote.
Neither seditious nor the word indecent are defined within the Constitution.
A seditious document is defined in the Offences against the State Act of 1939, and that definition is a very lengthy definition. There is a definition of indecent in the Censorship of Publications Act of 1946. Information regarding these particular terms can be found on our website, which is refcom.ie and in fact for any further additional information that people might require there is further information on that website.

Have people been charged with blasphemy in Ireland?
Nobody has been prosecuted in Ireland under the offence of blasphemy since 1855 and that was a particular case where a redemptorist priest had organised a bonfire to destroy so-called "vile English novels". And in doing so he inadvertently burned a Bible which was hidden amongst the books. He was acquitted of that offence because for the prosecution to proceed it would have had to show that he had intended to burn the Bible.
The next case to come before the courts was a case called Corway and Independent Newspapers, and that came before the High Court in 1996. That concerned a particular article in a newspaper, and at that time a prosecution could not be commenced against a newspaper without the courts giving leave, and Mr Corway was refused leave to commence the prosecution by the courts and so there was no prosecution, so in effect, that prosecution never got off the ground.
The current law is under the Defamation Act of 2009 and there has been no prosecution under that Act for the offence of blasphemy.

How many people have been prosecuted and convicted then under the Defamation Act of 2009?
There has been no prosecution under the 2009 Act for the offence of blasphemy.

Will the current laws pertaining to incitement need to be further updated or are they strong enough in their current form to offer protection to any individual or group?
Well the current laws in relation to incitement to hatred are contained within the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act of 1989. The job of the Referendum Commission is to explain the proposal that is being put before the people, so it’s not for the Referendum Commission to say whether the current laws pertaining to incitement to hatred are or are not strong enough – that is something for the Oireachtas to decide.


More Questions can be found at RTE
Blasphemy referendum: Your questions answered
 

SwordOfStCatherine

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I am going to vote no- but basically as a troll. Blasphemy laws become more tricky as societies become more Religiously diverse.
 

SwordOfStCatherine

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I am voting NO

We have enough Hate out there as it is

We don't need more....
But people blaspheme as it is all the time on Politics.ie and here also occasionally- if ever there was a paper tiger it is this law. Also knowing the current Ruling Elite the only people they would prosecute under blasphemy laws would be some obscure Baptist or Traditionalist Catholic Priest for saying naughty things about Hinduism or even Witchcraft.
 

smurftool

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I don't trust this government, I think there is a hidden agenda here to introduce tougher hate laws outside the constitution.

This is a rock they need to remove to introduce this.

There has been little to no talk about this referendum, which gives me more reason to doubt the sincerity of the reasons behind this referendum.
 

libertarian-right

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I don't trust this government, I think there is a hidden agenda here to introduce tougher hate laws outside the constitution.

This is a rock they need to remove to introduce this.

There has been little to no talk about this referendum, which gives me more reason to doubt the sincerity of the reasons behind this referendum.
Explain how removing the word blasphemy from the constitution would enable them to introduce tougher hate statutory laws? The two are not connected in the slightest.

We already have The Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act, 1989, which makes it an offence to create or distribute racist, homophobic, or other discriminatory materials. 5 convictions have been recorded since - nearly 30 years later.

This government would be keen on tougher laws regardless of this vote. As would Labour or Fianna Fail if in power.
 
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I'll be voting No as I'm tired of Fine Gael and their friends virtue signalling to twitter snowflakes. A protest vote, if anything.
 
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The Field Marshal

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Which do you prefer, the Christian religion or the snowflake, diversity and equality, PC religion? The blasphemy provision in the Constitution has been redundant for years, yet reading media reports you'd swear there was a wing in Mountjoy prison stuffed full of atheists. If this is repealed it will just give more ammo to the snowflakes to establish new equality and diversity laws - which will be much more restrictive than the redundant blasphemy law. Vote No as an up yours to the establishment.
There is no doubt the Musloids will abuse the blasphemy laws to promote their false religion.

Really what is required is the re-introduction of the provision in the Irish constitution of the special place of the Roman catholic church .
It should never have been removed and had it been left there this upcoming referendum would not be taking place.

Alas under the regime of antipope Francis 1st Ireland is losing all basically Christian values so the future looks ugly indeed.
 

The Potato Mystic

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I'll be voting No to wind up the regime, to further Flanagan's embarrassment, to upend this as a pro-regime PR "success" were they get to trade on how "progressive" they are, to push back on the regime's false & impertinent claims that they are interested in freedom of speech over an unused law whilst in the background they assemble together muscular secular blasphemy laws that will be enacted.

And that's why I'm voting No.
 

The Field Marshal

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I'll be voting No to wind up the regime, to further Flanagan's embarrassment, to upend this as a pro-regime PR "success" were they get to trade on how "progressive" they are, to push back on the regime's false & impertinent claims that they are interested in freedom of speech over an unused law whilst in the background they assemble together muscular secular blasphemy laws that will be enacted.

And that's why I'm voting No.
Are you concerned that the Musloid Fundies will abuse the blasphemy laws to further their wicked and evil ideology?
 

The Potato Mystic

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Are you concerned that the Musloid Fundies will abuse the blasphemy laws to further their wicked and evil ideology?
They'll do that through a liberal framing anyway. Liberals get mad when people identify their measures using religious vocabulary such as "blasphemy". For liberals, shielding minority religions is a procedure in secular liberal managerialism. That's why all these liberals want this law gone; it's not some kind of double bluff on their behalf, they want it gone because it makes them look like fools.
 
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