A Dublin councillor has said that Ireland’s blasphemy laws apply to all minority groups, and that Muslims shouldn’t receive “special provisions” that make their religion exempt from criticism.
Keith Redmond, an independent councillor for Howth-Malahide told The Irish Catholic that last year’s referendum results shows the “vast majority” of people in the country don’t believe that blasphemy should be protected.
His comments come after calls to ban rhetoric in Ireland that dehumanises Muslims, following the terrorist attacks at mosques in New Zealand’s Christchurch earlier this month.
“Now I think people misunderstand free speech in that free to speak your mind doesn’t mean there can’t be ramifications for you – so you know you’re responsible for what you say.
“As you know, we have defamation laws, we have incitement to violence laws, those things protect people, their good name and obviously their safety. But the rest of it is free for the public square and debate,” the councillor said, adding that the State shouldn’t be “stepping in” to prevent offence taken by other people.
“Speech does correct itself. This is the problem – when you try to stifle free speech, all you do is create martyrs. And if anything, you bring sympathy to the people who least deserve it,” Mr Redmond said.