Ireland Debates Penalties For ‘Blasphemous Libel’

Debate has erupted in Ireland over a proposal to penalize “blasphemous libel.”

Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern in April recommended a fine of up to 100,000 Euros ($136,000) for any publication or speech that is “grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion” and intended to cause outrage.

Ahern said the measure is mandated by Article 40 of the Irish Constitution.

But critics said such a law would violate freedom of speech.

“I am very concerned about that,” said Senator Ivana Bacik, a professor at Trinity College Dublin Law School. “We have seen enough religious domination in this country.”