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Ireland votes to abolish 'medieval' blasphemy law

Ireland votes to abolish 'medieval' blasphemy law
By Euronews
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A referendum was held on whether to change the law, which makes publishing or uttering a blasphemous comment punishable by a fine of 25,000 euros.


Ireland has formally voted to decriminalise blasphemy, marking the latest reflectic of the huge social and political shift the country is making.

Following a referendum on Friday, 65 percent of voters agreed to change the medieval law which currently makes it a criminal offence to publish or utter a blasphemous comment.

It was punishable by a fine of 25 thousand euros.

Although the he last attempted prosecution is thought to date back to 1855 but the law came under the spotlight when British TV personality, Stephen Fry, said - on Irish television - that God was "stupid."

His comments led to a police investigation.

Seismic changes in Ireland

Until recently, Ireland was a deeply conservative nation, dominated by the Catholic church.

However, it has in recent times held popular votes resulting in the legalisation of gay marriage and abortion, and is now led by an openly gay taoiseach, Leo Varadkar.

He has branded the shift in Ireland's ideology a "quiet revolution".

Michael Nugent, chairperson of Atheist Ireland, which had campaigned for years to have blasphemy taken out of the constitution, said the law change would mean that "we’ve got rid of a medieval crime from our constitution that should never have been there”.

He also said the result was another important step towards realigning national laws with contemporary Irish life.

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