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Saturday 16 December 2017

Garda probe Stephen Fry's 'blasphemy'

Comedian could be fined €25,000 if convicted

FRY: Now faces investigation
FRY: Now faces investigation

Cathal McMahon and Mark O'Regan

Comedian Stephen Fry faces a potential fine of up to €25,000 as Gardai launch an investigation after a TV viewer alleged his comments on an RTE show were blasphemous.

The complaint relates to an interview with Gay Byrne on The Meaning of Life broadcast in February 2015. Following the broadcast, a member of the public reported Stephen Fry to Ennis Garda Station.

During the show the comedian and writer was questioned about what he might say to God at the pearly gates.

Mr Fry said he would say: "How dare you create a world in which there is such misery? It's not our fault? It's not right. It's utterly, utterly evil. Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid god who creates a world which is so full of injustice and pain?"

He went on to say that if he was met by the Greek gods he would be quicker to accept them because, "they didn't present themselves as being all seeing, all wise, all beneficent."

He added: "Because the god who created this universe - if it was created by god - is quite clearly a maniac, an utter maniac, totally selfish.

"We have to spend our lives on our knees thanking him. What kind of god would do that?"

A clip of the interview was subsequently posted online.

It has since been viewed over seven million times.

First revealed by yesterday, a full investigation is now due to be carried out after gardai in Donnybrook Station contacted the man who made the report

Under the Defamation Act 2009 a person who publishes or utters blasphemous material "shall be guilty of an offence". They are liable upon conviction for a fine not exceeding €25,000.

A well-placed source said it was "highly unlikely" that a prosecution would take place.

A spokesman for Stephen Fry said: "There is nothing for us to say while this is under investigation."

Atheist Ireland said it welcomed the garda investigation saying it "highlights a law that is silly, silencing, and dangerous".

Sunday Independent

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