No referendum on blasphemy

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has confirmed that a referendum on the removal of the offence of blasphemy from the Constitution will not take place during the lifetime of this Government.

The Government believes proposed changes to the Constitution should be put to the people on a phased basis, he told RTÉ News, and that a third referendum could distract from the two planned referendums on same-sex marriage and on reducing the voting age for presidential elections expected to take place in May.

Ireland’s blasphemy law was introduced in July 2009, making illegal the publication or utterance of matter that is grossly abusive or insulting to matters sacred to any religion, with the intention of causing outrage about substantial numbers of adherents of that religion.