Does Dermot Ahern read this blog?
On May Day, I wrote here that the justice minister’s proposal to create a criminal offence of blasphemous libel with a fine of up to €100000 was ‘a return to the brilliance that gave us revenue generating innovations like duty free shopping, DIRT tax, the airport departure tax.’
‘We take our gods’ names in vain in this country … so casually, we don’t even notice any more. At €100000 a pop, that’s a lot of revenue.’
It was a throwaway comment, a way to poke fun at the new law, or so I thought.
Until today, when Dermot Ahern went before an Oireachtas committee to defend his ideas on blasphemy from ‘conspiracy theorists’ and ‘pseudo-liberals’.
Ahern denied consulting religious organisations before making his blasphemous proposal. This is clearly true, since many of them have gone on record against the idea.
Then came the line in the PA report that caught my eye.
‘He [Dermot Ahern] also rejected ‘ludicrous’ claims that he was seeking to raise extra Exchequer revenue with the legislation.’
Little wonder a minister so humourless should be the one to come up with a law to protect the thin skinned from satire.