Eire blasphemy referendum: Votes on repealing ban are counted


The Friday referendum requested the general public whether or not to take away the phrase “blasphemous” from Article 40 of the structure, which reads: “The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with regulation.”

Though the nation’s blasphemy ban was enshrined within the structure in 1937, nobody has ever been prosecuted beneath it.

Exit polling late Friday by Eire’s nationwide broadcaster, RTE, indicated that voters would vote to repeal the blasphemy ban.

If that is the case, the referendum would symbolize the most recent step on the nation’s continued trajectory towards a extra secular, various society. Two current referendums legalized same-sex marriage and abortion within the Catholic-majority nation.

RTE’s exit polling additionally urged that Michael D. Higgins was set to be elected to a second time period as Irish president, a largely ceremonial put up, with 58% of first desire votes.

The RTE survey put businessman Peter Casey second, with simply wanting 21% of the vote, and the Sinn Fein candidate in third place. Six candidates are operating for workplace. The exit ballot’s margin of error is between plus or minus 3%, RTE stated.

Critics of the blasphemy ban argue that the regulation is out of date and displays an Eire long-gone.

In 1995, a member of the general public lodged a blasphemy case in opposition to the Sunday Unbiased newspaper, which had printed a cartoon of presidency ministers refusing the Catholic sacrament of communion. Eire’s Supreme Court docket ultimately threw out the case in 1999, ruling that though blasphemy was technically a criminal offense, there was no regulation to implement it.

A decade later, the federal government ultimately outlined the phrases of blasphemy as regulation beneath the 2009 Defamation Act. The punishable offense presently carries a fantastic of as much as 25,000 euros (roughly US $28,500.)

British actor and comedian Stephen Fry was at the center of a 2017 blasphemy probe in Ireland.

A high-profile case in 2017 drew consideration to that regulation, when Irish police opened an investigation into British comic and actor Stephen Fry after a member of the general public complained about feedback he made throughout a 2015 interview on Irish tv.

“Why ought to I respect a capricious, mean-minded, silly god who creates a world so stuffed with injustice and ache?” Fry stated on broadcaster RTE. “The god that created this universe — if it was created by a god — is sort of clearly a maniac, utter maniac. Completely egocentric,” Fry stated.

The Fry investigation was ultimately thrown out, however the case reenergized the nationwide dialog across the matter.

Journalist Peter Taggart contributed to this report.

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