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Ireland to vote on removing blasphemy as an offence

The Irish government has approved preparing a bill to remove blasphemy as part of a commitment to constitutional reforms.

The national flag of Ireland. Picture: freeimages.com

DUBLIN - Ireland will hold a referendum in October to remove the offence of blasphemy from its constitution, Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan said on Tuesday.

The Irish government has approved preparing a bill to remove blasphemy as part of a commitment to constitutional reforms. The referendum will probably be held on the same day as the presidential election.

Government ministers see last month’s abortion referendum as a milestone on a path to change for a country that was one of Europe’s most socially conservative a few decades ago, and are keen to push forward with other constitutional reforms.

After the blasphemy referendum, a vote on a controversial reference in the constitution to a “woman’s life within the home” is likely.

“In terms of Ireland’s international reputation, this is an important step,” Flanagan said in a press release on Tuesday.

“By removing this provision from our Constitution, we can send a strong message to the world that laws against blasphemy do not reflect Irish values and that we do not believe such laws should exist.”

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