Blasphemy Illegal from Today

I got this recently on facebook.

Defamation Act 2009 (Commencement) Order 2009 (SI No 517 of 2009)
I, Dermot Ahern, Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform,
in exercise of the powers conferred on me by section 1(2) of the
Defamation Act 2009 (No 31 of 2009), hereby order as follows:

1. This Order may be cited as the Defamation Act 2009
(Commencement) Order 2009.

2. The 1st day of January 2010 is appointed as the day on which
the Defamation Act 2009 (No 31 of 2009) comes into operation.

Given under my Official Seal,
15 December 2009.

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform.

The Defamation Act, contained the references to Blasphemy, so be careful with what you say. I wonder who will be the first person prosecuted under it? If any!

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Author: Stephen

Cork born and bred, proud European and Irishman. Involved in many organisations and politics. Also writes for and UCC Express.

6 thoughts on “Blasphemy Illegal from Today”

  1. Crikey…

    What exactly counts as blasphemy in Ireland? Can you still publicly use the name of God in vain? Would Richard Dawkins be open for prosecution? Can comedians still make jokes about God and the Church?

    Seems like a dangerous road to be going down. Prosecuting hate-speech is one thing… but blasphemy?

    1. Well Joe this is what the legislation sets out:

      36.—(1) A person who publishes or utters blasphemous matter
      shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable upon conviction on
      indictment to a fine not exceeding €25,000.

      (2) For the purposes of this section, a person publishes or utters
      blasphemous matter if—

      (a) he or she publishes or utters matter that is grossly abusive
      or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any
      religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial
      number of the adherents of that religion, and

      (b) he or she intends, by the publication or utterance of the
      matter concerned, to cause such outrage.

      (3) It shall be a defence to proceedings for an offence under this
      section for the defendant to prove that a reasonable person would
      find genuine literary, artistic, political, scientific, or academic value
      in the matter to which the offence relates.

      Its a worrying trend. A website is trying to bring it down. See

      For the the txt of the bill see here

  2. Blasphemy has been illegal in ireland since the 1936 constitution. That fact was reaffirmed in the 1961 defamation act which imposed prison penalties. What the new act does is to remove the jail penalty for blasphemy. Do some very very basic research before posting!!!!!!

    1. Geraldine, there is also a different between enforced laws and unenforced laws. The older laws, including the constitution, have largely been ignored. So maybe you are the one that needs to some basic research. All you have mentioned, I have mentioned in the past on posts on this subject. So get with the program.

  3. your not making sense – the new law makes in nigh impossible to bring a prosecution – much much tougher than in the older ones being reformed. You should acknowledge that.

  4. or maybe you should acknowledge the fact you are the only one saying this. Prosecutions are not harder under this legislation. The older laws had been done away with, until this act.

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