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scottdisco
09-07-2009, 11:34 AM
WTF, Dáil? (http://blog.newhumanist.org.uk/2009/07/blasphemy-law-passed-in-ireland.html)

yes, i appreciate this is part of a wider defamation bill, which the media broadly supports, but, the blasphemy angle had to be packaged in too? really?
:mad:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/e/ec/Ted_kicks_Bishop_Brennan.jpg

droid
09-07-2009, 12:14 PM
There are constitutional issues which make this a tad more complex, but yes, it is shit.

No surprise though, coming as it does from an unbelievably arrogant and conservative government which allowed an opus dei member to negotiate a dodgy backroom deal with religious orders to limit the amount of compensation they were obliged to pay to victims of massive clerical abuse (including rape and murder) which took place over a 40 year period.

That said, its the least of our problems at the moment. Apart from the gargantuan economic and social fuckups the shower of cunts have perpetrated, they're also trying to push through non-jury trials and secret evidence for 'gangland' crimes and are supporting paramilitary action by Shell against protesters in Mayo.

matt b
09-07-2009, 12:22 PM
No surprise though, coming as it does from an unbelievably arrogant and conservative government which allowed an opus dei member to negotiate a dodgy backroom deal with religious orders to limit the amount of compensation they were obliged to pay to victims of massive clerical abuse (including rape and murder) which took place over a 40 year period.


Aren't tax payers rather than the church paying most of this? I caught the end of a Radio 4 programme that seemed to suggest this.

scottdisco
09-07-2009, 12:28 PM
There are constitutional issues which make this a tad more complex, but yes, it is shit.

No surprise though, coming as it does from an unbelievably arrogant and conservative government which allowed an opus dei member to negotiate a dodgy backroom deal with religious orders to limit the amount of compensation they were obliged to pay to victims of massive clerical abuse (including rape and murder) which took place over a 40 year period.

That said, its the least of our problems at the moment. Apart from the gargantuan economic and social fuckups the shower of cunts have perpetrated, they're also trying to push through non-jury trials and secret evidence for 'gangland' crimes and are supporting paramilitary action by Shell against protesters in Mayo.

can you expand on the constitutional issues please Droid? ta.

and, yes: Ireland's shame, the abuse scandal. planetary-sized, really.

i note the New Humanist blog, prior to a good interview with Graham 'Father Ted' Linehan, noted

It is intended to back up a clause against blasphemy which is already present in the Irish constitution.

droid
09-07-2009, 12:38 PM
Aren't tax payers rather than the church paying most of this? I caught the end of a Radio 4 programme that seemed to suggest this.

Thats right - all as a result of the deal negotiated with the religious orders by Michael Woods which limited the liability of the orders to 128 million (half of which was in properties already in possession of the state).

The total bill is estimated to be around 2 billion (which the govt. knew at the time).

That said, the state is in it up to its neck as well, don't get me started on the 'redress boards' - set up to allow church and state to avoid courts when giving (meagre) compensation.

AFAIC every government from the 50's up until the 90's is complicit in this, the various ministers for education, the judges and Gardai who sent the kids to their fates simply for being found alone on the streets... the whole thing is a Dickensian nightmare, and the fuckers who allowed it to happen and perpetrated it are all still in positions of power or receiving state pensions and are safe from prosecution.

I went to a Christian brothers school for a couple of years in the late 80's and consider myself lucky that all I got was some brimstone and hellfire and a few raps across the knuckles with a ruler.

droid
09-07-2009, 12:42 PM
can you expand on the constitutional issues please Droid? ta.

and, yes: Ireland's shame, the abuse scandal. planetary-sized, really.

i note the New Humanist blog, prior to a good interview with Graham 'Father Ted' Linehan, noted


Well basically, the constitution has a clause against blasphemy, which is contradicted by the clause on freedom of expression. As I understand it, this bill is being passed to resolve the contradiction whilst avoiding the need for a referendum... terrible timing really.

This Irish Times article sums up the nuts and bolts:


A NEW crime of blasphemous libel is to be proposed by the Minister for Justice in an amendment to the Defamation Bill, which will be discussed by the Oireachtas committee on justice today.

At the moment there is no crime of blasphemy on the statute books, though it is prohibited by the Constitution.

Article 40 of the Constitution, guaranteeing freedom of speech, qualifies it by stating: “The State shall endeavour to ensure that organs of public opinion, such as the radio, the press, the cinema, while preserving their rightful liberty of expression, including criticism of Government policy, shall not be used to undermine public order or morality or the authority of the State.

“The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent material is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law.”

Last year the Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution, under the chairmanship of Fianna Fáil TD Seán Ardagh, recommended amending this Article to remove all references to sedition and blasphemy, and redrafting the Article along the lines of article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which deals with freedom of expression.

The prohibition on blasphemy dates back to English law aimed at protecting the established church, the Church of England, from attack. It has been used relatively recently to prosecute satirical publications in the UK.

In the only Irish case taken under this article, Corway -v- Independent Newspapers, in 1999, the Supreme Court concluded that it was impossible to say “of what the offence of blasphemy consists”.

It also stated that a special protection for Christianity was incompatible with the religious equality provisions of Article 44.

Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern proposes to insert a new section into the Defamation Bill, stating: “A person who publishes or utters blasphemous matter shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable upon conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding €100,000.”

“Blasphemous matter” is defined as matter “that is 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.”

Where a person is convicted of an offence under this section, the court may issue a warrant authorising the Garda Síochána to enter, if necessary using reasonable force, a premises where the member of the force has reasonable grounds for believing there are copies of the blasphemous statements in order to seize them.

Labour spokesman on justice Pat Rabbitte is proposing an amendment to this section which would reduce the maximum fine to €1,000 and exclude from the definition of blasphemy any matter that had any literary, artistic, social or academic merit.

The English are to blame for it all of course... ;)

scottdisco
09-07-2009, 06:46 PM
cheers Droid. (and very moving on the clerical abuse.)


Why is this happening? The Irish Constitution says that blasphemy is an offence that shall be punishable by law. That law currently resides in the 1961 Defamation Act. The Dáil is now repealing and updating this Act, and Justice Minister Dermot Ahern says he must pass a new blasphemy law to avoid leaving a “void”.

But this “void” is already there. In 1999, the Supreme Court found that the 1961 law was unenforceable because it did not define blasphemy. So, in effect, Ireland has never had an enforceable blasphemy law under the 1937 Constitution. But we will if this bill is passed through the Dáil and the Seanad (the upper house), and the government has the working majority needed to pass it.

soundly finishes off w' "three reasons why this law is both silly and dangerous" (http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2009/07/ireland-blasphemy-law-a-backward-step/)

Mr. Tea
09-07-2009, 07:08 PM
Appallingly ironic to see intolerant, bigoted old conservatives (to say nothing of disgusting sexual hypocrites) play the 'political correctness' card here, taking advantage of the general trend in liberal politics towards trying not to cause offence to anyone. Which of course can be a good thing, when the offence is gratuitous and reactionary - but there are people who IMO *need* offending...


“Blasphemous matter” is defined as matter “that is 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.”

Yeah, I can really see pro-Church politicians taking a big stand against Islamophobic or anti-Semetic material... :slanted:

scottdisco
10-07-2009, 11:58 AM
i might imagine that coalitions of, say, Churchmen could band together fairly easily with leaders of other religious communities to really shore up this pernicious nonsense, using bad faith and plain garbage arguments.

people will try to make equivalences between an instance of anti-Muslim bigotry and the act of critiquing political Islamism, say, and this rubbish will no doubt make it easier to shut down legitimate debate.

across the water in the UK, haven't we already seen representatives from the Hindu, Muslim and Christian communities band together when it suits them on speech issues?
no URLs to hand, but i'm pretty sure i vaguely remember a few occasions in the last couple of years.

droid
10-07-2009, 12:12 PM
One obvious example - it would be illegal to publish cartoons of Mohammad.

john eden
10-07-2009, 12:14 PM
Scott is correct here - all of the "community leaders" and arch bishops etc rally round to represent their interests in the UK - as a "community of faiths".

They have much more to gain from sticking together than they do from in-fighting. The politics of religious schools would be one example.

Mr. Tea
10-07-2009, 01:27 PM
across the water in the UK, haven't we already seen representatives from the Hindu, Muslim and Christian communities band together when it suits them on speech issues?


Yeah, that would make sense I guess.

Droid, does the Republic actually have much in the way in the way of religious minorities, other than Protestants? From talking to Irish mates over here I gather the biggest influx of recent immigrants has been from Poland, but they're Catholic anyway (traditionally, I mean). And many have probably left or are thinking about leaving, I wouldn't be surprised...

Colz
11-07-2009, 03:11 AM
Islam is the fastest growing religion in Ireland apparently.

http://atangledweb.squarespace.com/httpatangledwebsquarespace/islam-fastest-growing-religion-in-ireland.html

droid
11-07-2009, 02:04 PM
Yeah, Colz is right. Though at about 30,000 theyre a tiny minority. There's a small (and dwindling) jewish community of about 6000, plus a community of Western African immigrants which practise their own brand of vaguely protestant Christianity.

Ireland is far more socially secular than it used to be though. The church's status is more to do with hangovers from colonialism followed by successive conservative Fianna Fail govts (tampons werent legally sold here unitl the 60's, contraception and homosexuality were illegal until the early 90's) than anything else.