Friday 21 September 2018

Flanagan pushes for vote on blasphemy law

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan. Picture: Mark Condren
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan. Picture: Mark Condren
John Downing

John Downing

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan is tomorrow expected to seek Government support for moves paving the way for a referendum on ending the crime of blasphemy.

If Cabinet agrees, it is likely that a referendum on this issue, and another proposed constitutional change, ending the cited special place of women in the home, could happen next October.

Not all Government ministers are keen to follow last month's landmark vote on ending the abortion ban with another string of referendums.

But others argue that the Government is already committed to holding these referendums and these votes may also have a tactical role in filling an already fraught political agenda.

One option being looked at is holding the two referendums on the same day as a presidential election, if such a contest materialises, in late October. But if there is no presidential election, the referendums could go ahead anyway.

Mr Flanagan will move a general scheme of a bill to amend the Constitution to be called the Removal of Blasphemy Bill.

Some in Government circles hope the referendums can help defuse public tensions between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil over the Budget.

Irish Independent

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