Tag Archives: Dermot Ahern

Fry Up

They’ve wasted a perfectly good controversy The Irish police are investigating Stephen Fry for blasphemy. Well, not really. A few years ago, Fry gave one of those “If you’re so great, why is everything crap?” answers to Gay Byrne on a lightweight Irish religious programme when asked what he’d say if he ever met God. A viewer decided to put Irish law to the test, and complained to the police…. Read Article →

Are speed camera zones about safety or revenue?

I spent Tuesday at Hacks & Hackers Hack. Organised by Scraperwiki, and sponsored by the Guardian Open Platform, NUJ Dublin Freelance Branch and Innovation Dublin, HH&H was a one day exercise uniting Hacks (journalists) and Hackers (computer coders) to extract data from public databases. Since the introduction of safety camera zones has been in the news, our group decided to look at some road safety information. Some of the data… Read Article →

Hairetikos

So I’ve got some unleavened bread here. To some people, it’s just a piece of flour, mixed with water and heated. And to some people, it’s the body of a god, sacred beyond imagining. Plain unraised bread, made without yeast or other raising agent, is ‘unleavened’. A few years ago, a Florida student called Webster Cook put a piece of unleavened bread in his pocket. Churchgoers confronted Webster to get… Read Article →

26 months later

In May 2008, retired High Court president Freddie Morris recommended that a Committee be set up to “formulate and recommend the policy to be implemented in respect of investigative interviewing by the Commissioner of An Garda Síochána on an ongoing basis in all its respects, and make such recommendations from time to time in relation to any legal changes or changes in practice that it deems to be appropriate in… Read Article →

Cash Call

Sixteen months ago, I wrote a story. It was a nice little story, with some good quotes from the main player. I sold it to a provincial paper. I posted the story on my website. Thanks to the vagaries of thesub editing process, what appeared on the website was different to what appeared in print. Among other things, quotes that appeared online didn’t make it into print. Then, a few… Read Article →

WTF?

Following contact earlier today from the Slovakian authorities with the Airport Police at Dublin Airport, members of the Garda Síochána recovered a small quantity of explosive material from the luggage of a passenger who had flown into Dublin from that country on Saturday. It has since been established that this material was concealed without his knowledge or consent in the passenger’s luggage as part of an airport security exercise by… Read Article →

Section 35

‘The common law offences of defamatory libel, seditious libel and obscene libel are abolished.’ That’s the entirety of section 35 of the Defamation Act 2009, signed into law by the president, Mary McAleese, last Thursday. The next two sections are devoted to blasphemy. Blasphemy, you may remember, was included in the bill at the last minute because justice minster Dermot Ahern was advised that the Bunreacht ‘requires that blasphemy must… Read Article →

Tús Maith

A nascent campaign to repeal the constitutional provision on blasphemy has received support from an unexpected source: the Anglican Bishop of Cork. Atheist Ireland, a group established ‘to build a rational, ethical and secular society free from superstition and supernaturalism’ has decided it will oppose the new law, signed by President McAleese today. And the Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, the Right Reverend Paul Colton, has supported the campaign… Read Article →

Crackers

This week, watching as the Dáil debates on the Criminal Justice and Defamation bills were guillotined, I found myself considering what to do. Writing to my TDs didn’t help. Only one of them replied, and he voted for the bill anyway. So how should I protest? A year ago, a student in Florida received death threats because he didn’t consume a communion wafer he wanted to show to a friend…. Read Article →

Any Other Business

It’s going to be an interesting week in Dáil Éireann. Desperate not to cut back on their holiday time,the government has opted instead to cut debating time, and plans to guillotine several bills into law by Friday. Among the highlights: The blasphemy clause in the Defamation bill, making it illegal to say naughty things if god botherers take offence. There’s been little mainstream media comment critical of this preposterous law,… Read Article →