Wording for proposed blasphemy referendum published

It would take the offence of publishing or saying something blasphemous out of the Constitution

Wording for proposed blasphemy referendum published

Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

The Justice Minister has published the wording of the proposed amendment to the Constitution to remove the offence of blasphemy.

The 37th amendment would take the offence of publishing or saying something blasphemous out of the Constitution.

A referendum on the issue is due to be held in October.

Currently, Article 40.6.1 of the Constitution states: "The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law."

The proposed amendment would see the word 'blasphemous' removed, while relevant legislation would be altered to address the change.

Charlie Flanagan says it's 'not an especially controversial' issue and expects the proposal will be passed.

He said removing the offence of blasphemy "will bring us into line with internationally accepted norms and will re-affirm the message that we are a tolerant and pluralist society where freedom of expression is valued and important".

He added: “I very much hope that this debate will be conducted in a calm and inclusive manner." 

A referendum to remove the constitutional reference to a woman's place in the home was due to take place on the same day as the blasphemy referendum and a potential presidential election.

However, that referendum likely to be delayed for several months while a Dáil committee examines the proposal.