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15.45 8 Jan 2015


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The Minister for Defence has said he believes the ban on blasphemy needs to be removed from the constitution, but has warned it can't be done overnight.

Simon Coveney was responding to yesterday's shooting in Paris against staff at a satirical magazine, by suspected Islamist militants.

Coveney said the constitution should not include a ban on blasphemy as it currently does.

However, he warned that Ireland needs to be careful about changing the wording:

“Having blasphemy in the constitution is inappropriate and I think that needs to change at some stage in the future. It’s quite a complex process to change it – changing the constitution is always complex,” he said.

“On the general issue, Ireland needs to sell itself and needs to be a modern state that welcomes diversity, that welcomes difference.”

Coveney also said Ireland is preparing a long-term strategy to deal with potential new threats from terrorism.

He said a long-awaited new policy on defence will be ready by this summer and Ireland will be fully prepared for any major security concerns that could be posed by extremists of any sort. Coveney said the new framework will utilise a combination of resources and will not be limited to traditional bodies of national defence.

“We’re in the middle of a white paper process for defence which will be finished next summer which will deal with a lot of the new defence challenges that we face as a country and that we will need a combination of responses to in terms of infrastructure.

“This won’t just be about an Garda Síochána, the Coast Guard, the Army the Naval Service and the Air Corps, it’ll be about something much broader than that.”


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