Saturday 20 July 2019

Ireland votes 'yes' to remove blasphemy from the Constitution

  • 65pc of the country voted 'yes' in the referendum
  • 'Today's vote is another important step towards a human rights compliant Constitution' - Amnesty Ireland's Colm O'Gorman
  • Chairperson of Atheist Ireland Michael Nugent described blasphemy as a 'medieval crime'
'The election campaign was right up there with the best of the soaps for drama.' Photo: Reuters
'The election campaign was right up there with the best of the soaps for drama.' Photo: Reuters

Rachel Farrell and Catherine Devine

The country has voted to remove 'blasphemy' from the Constitution.

Some 951,650 people voted 'yes' in the referendum that featured alongside the Presidential Election on Friday, making up 65 per cent of the total valid votes (1,467,458).

The move was welcomed by leading figures earlier in the day, after an exit poll conducted by RTÉ and Red C showed some 71.1pc of participants voted to remove the term from the Constitution.

Human rights organisation Amnesty Ireland described the move as "significant" for the status of human rights and freedom in Ireland.

"While we await the final figures from the national wide count, it is clear at this stage that the Yes side have carried the day," Colm O’Gorman, executive director of Amnesty Ireland said earlier.

"Today's vote is another important step towards a human rights compliant Constitution.

"It follows the massive support for the constitutional referenda allowing marriage equality and ending the abortion ban.

"People in Ireland have shown yet again that they value human rights and freedoms.”

Chairperson of Atheist Ireland Michael Nugent also welcomed the exit poll results, describing blasphemy as a "medieval crime".

"We will have removed a medieval crime, that was added to our constitution in 1937, and crowbarred into our statute books a decade ago," he said.

"Our laws will be able to protect people from harm, not protect ideas from criticism, and our media outlets will no longer have to self censor themselves."

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