The head of Atheist Ireland has said claims a satirical news sketch on a New Year's Eve countdown programme were 'blasphemous' are not valid, as a blasphemy law has been removed.
It comes after State-broadcaster RTÉ apologised over the December 31st sketch.
In the 'Waterford Whispers' news report, God was described as being 'the latest figure to be implicated in ongoing sexual harassment scandals'.
The clip ended with a line that film producer Harvey Weinstein, who is serving a sentence in the US for rape and sexual assault, had 'requested for a re-trial in Ireland'.
In a statement, the broadcaster said that some viewers were offended by the sketch and that around 1,100 complaints have been received so far.
It said: "RTÉ recognises that matters which can cause offence naturally differ from person to person, within comedy and satire in particular.
"Having reviewed the feedback and complaints received up to this point, RTÉ wishes to apologise to those who were offended by the segment.
"The formal complaints received by RTÉ are being entered into our complaints system and will be responded to in accordance with the relevant statutory process."
Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin, branded the clip as 'blasphemous'.
2. To broadcast such a deeply offensive and blasphemous clip about God & Our Blessed Mother Mary during the Christmas season on ‘NYE Countdown Show' on @RTE, @RTEOne & on Eve of the Solemn Feast of Mary, Mother of God is insulting to all Catholics and Christians. @deeforbes_dee
— Eamon Martin (@ArchbishopEamon) January 1, 2021
But Michael Nugent, chairman of Atheist Ireland, told Newstalk Breakfast that claims of blasphemy are no longer applicable.
"The complaint that was made about it was that it was 'blasphemous' - we have removed the law against blasphemy after a long campaign and a referendum.
"It's now recognised in Ireland that religious ideas are just as open to criticism and ridicule as are non-religious, secular ideas."
In terms of any offence caused, he said: "It's important to recognise that you're allowed to offend people.
"Different people get offended by different things - I'm offended by a lot of the stories in the Christian bible... I don't want the bible to be banned - I'm quite happy to have it there even though I find it offensive".
"Television stations are entitled to, and indeed in some cases have a duty to, broadcast items that they know that some people won't like.
"That's not a reason to ban it".
He added: "Everyone has a right to be offended, but you don't have a right to stop things being broadcast simply because you're offended.
"The joke was not mocking rape, the joke was mocking lenient attitudes towards rape".