Monday, July 06, 2009

Bad news on Irish Blasphemy Law

Ireland's quest to grace the red carpet at the Silly Law of the Year 2009 Awards gathers pace. Last Wednesday, the Parliamentary Justice Committee passed it by 3 votes and it now goes to the Dail this week where a final vote will be held.

Already there are plans to challenge the law if it is passed.

If you are an Irish citizen, and you are horrified by the fact that your freedom of speech could be threatened to the extent where uttering anything offensive to the followers of any religion could cost you 25,000 euros (reduced from 100,000, a bargain, surely) and have the Gardai at your door to search your house or office, there are still some things you could do before the final vote: contact your TD to make your views known and join the campaigns on Facebook and Twitter or get news direct from the Blasphemy Ireland website.

UPDATE: Within 40 minutes of posting this, there's a further development.

Apparently no time has been allocated for specific debate of the Blasphemy amendment in the debate on Wednesday. The blasphemy measure is part of a bigger Defamation Bill which has only been given an hour. Given the controversy it's caused across the country, you would think that it would be useful for people to see their TD's position on that issue alone in a parliamentary vote. It is also a bit insulting not to allocate parliamentary time to discuss the specifics of such a divisive measure.

The Blasphemy Ireland people are suggesting that you lobby TDs to get them to push the Government for more time or to get them to withdraw their own amendments so there's time to discuss the blasphemy one.

It certainly sounds to me that this is a Government trying to save face by steamrolling an unpopular and unjustifiable measure through.

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