Jesus shat! Ireland’s Dail passes new blasphemy law

They’ve done it. The legislation to criminalise blasphemy was passed by the Dail today, with discussion of the issues placed under a strict time limit known as a guillotine (according to Atheist Ireland’s Mick Nugent, Ahern claimed that “extending time for blasphemy amendments would be regurgitating what has been discussed ad nauseum”).

This is what they have imposed on their citizens:

36. Publication or utterance of blasphemous matter.

(1) A person who publishes or utters blasphemous matter shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable upon conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding €100,000. [Amended to €25,000]

(2) For the purposes of this section, a person publishes or utters blasphemous matter if (a) he or she publishes or utters matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion, and (b) he or she intends, by the publication or utterance of the matter concerned, to cause such outrage.

(3) It shall be a defence to proceedings for an offence under this section for the defendant to prove that a reasonable person would find genuine literary, artistic, political, scientific, or academic value in the matter to which the offence relates.

37. Seizure of copies of blasphemous statements.

(1) Where a person is convicted of an offence under section 36, the court may issue a warrant (a) authorising any member of the Garda Siochana to enter (if necessary by the use of reasonable force) at all reasonable times any premises (including a dwelling) at which he or she has reasonable grounds for believing that copies of the statement to which the offence related are to be found, and to search those premises and seize and remove all copies of the statement found therein, (b) directing the seizure and removal by any member of the Garda Siochana of all copies of the statement to which the offence related that are in the possession of any person, (c) specifying the manner in which copies so seized and removed shall be detained and stored by the Garda Siochana.

(2) A member of the Garda Siochana may (a) enter and search any premises, (b) seize, remove and detain any copy of a statement to which an offence under section 36 relates found therein or in the possession of any person, in accordance with a warrant under subsection (1).

(3) Upon final judgment being given in proceedings for an offence under section 36, anything seized and removed under subsection (2) shall be disposed of in accordance with such directions as the court may give upon an application by a member of the Garda Siochana in that behalf.

Atheist Ireland intend to release a blasphemous statement on Saturday. A direct challenge to this law seems to be the only way forward. Provided they don’t pay too much attention to Father Ted writer Graham Linehan, who told The New Humanist,

Well, I like Mick Nugent’s idea of testing the law with a blasphemous statement, but it would have to be worded carefully so that it doesn’t dismay normal believers who just want to get on with their lives without bothering others with their beliefs.

He wants to make a blasphemous statement which doesn’t dismay religious believers! Well, he is a comedy genius…

12 Responses to “Jesus shat! Ireland’s Dail passes new blasphemy law”

  1. George says:

    Anyone got any suggestions for a suitable blasphemous statement to challenge this travesty?

  2. Chris Hall says:


    “37. Seizure of copies of blasphemous statements…”

    Is Ireland now post Stalinist Russia and all form of objectionable material is only available via samizdat?

    I really wish I’d chosen a different career and become a lawyer.

  3. Angela K says:

    Well this is a black day for freedom of speech. Let’s hope this stupid law is tested and found unworkable. I expect the blooody catholics are popping the champagne corks – bastards.

  4. Alfster says:

    “Angela K says:
    . I expect the blooody catholics are popping the champagne corks – bastards.”

    More like popping a few choirboys cherries.

  5. j.r. says:

    Does this law apply outside Ireland? For instance if a website viewable in Ireland publishes something naughty. Oh and apparently Jesus, Mohammed, Krishna and Moses sucked more cock than I’ve had hot dinners.

    • barriejohn says:

      Well said, jr, but you`ve left a good few out there, I`m afraid! Perhaps Stephen Hawking could put his enormous intellect to work, and come up with a Statement to Offend Everyone – I`d love to see it!!

  6. Peterd102 says:

    I would have tried to get complaints that the Koran is blasphemous to the Christians, see how long the law lasts then.

  7. Stuart H. says:

    Even if you did accept the idea that there are a few middle of the road religious sorts who don’t want to force their private irrationality on anyone else, it would still be right to dismay them.
    They should be dismayed at the realisation that their ‘right’ to believe six impossible things before breakfast is privileged over anyone else’s attempt to ask them to consider if those things are impossible in the first place by cracking jokes about it.
    If they’re half-decent folk that ought to dismay them as much as if they were privileged by, say, a state that practices apartheid.
    On j.r’s point – might be an easy way to test it. Atheist Ireland seem quite happy to put links to fellow spirits elsewhere on their website.

  8. Virus says:

    Jesus christ!! I was saying only the other day, I can’t understand why people get so worked up about blasphmey. If they believe then fine, but why should other people have to watch what the say about something THEY dont believe in? Makes no sense to me. As I wrote on my facebook. Their all fiction characters from a load of fiction novels written a long time ago, that make for a very incoheirent read. I might as well go out and call Harry Potter a twat, and be beaten to death by a group of 6 year olds. And scientology! What the hell? How can a religion in this day and age, start from an ACTUAL sci-fi book. How is that possible?? Are people really that desperate to find meaning in the world? You live, you enjoy it (well some of it), you die. Thats life. Always has been, always will be.

    • barriejohn says:

      Do you remember that hilarious sitcom A Kind of Living, featuring Richard Griffiths, Tim Healy and the incomparable Frances De La Tour, where the Griffiths character kept sayng: “You`re born, and then you die; and you`ve got to fill in the time between the best way that you can”!! Marvellous!!!

  9. Ken Clark says:

    Slightly off-topic I know, but what will the religious blockheads think, and say, when extraterrestrial life is found? No doubt some idiot would try to convert them to Christianity or other fanciful religion.

    Ken Clark, Liverpool Astronomical Society