In The Name Of The Father

Dermot Ahern is going to make cussing a crime.

The minister proposes to insert a new section into the Defamation Bill, creating an criminal offence if anyone ‘publishes or utters blasphemous matter’, leading to a large fine.

‘Blasphemy is anything ‘grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion; and he or she intends, by the publication of the matter concerned, to cause such outrage.’

Blasphemy is banned in the constitution, though not in statute. The Bunreacht guarantees ‘the right of the citizens to express freely their convictions and opinions’, then adds several conditions, including ‘the publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter.’

I’ve long believed the Bunreacht could do with a red pencil to large swathes of text. Too many of our fundamental rights are qualified by nonsense like this, making them meaningless if anyone frightens the horses.

This is a silly law, and one I plan to break regularly. If religions can’t take a slagging, they do not deserve the protection of the state. Particularly a state which thinks of itself as a republic.

Jesus screws donkeys.

Sue me.

By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.


  1. It’s not the churches/religions that “can’t take a slagging” in general, but individuals who get (genuinely) upset. I’m not in favour of the Minister’s solution either, but people who get upset, whether we sympathise or not, become a public order issue.

  2. We have public order laws to deal with people who “become a public order issue”. Or are you suggesting that freedom of speech should go out the window whenever someone threatens violence?

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