Referendum to remove offence of blasphemy to be held in autumn

The Government has agreed to hold a referendum later this year on removing the offence of blasphemy from the Constitution. Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan brought a proposal to Tuesday’s meeting of the Cabinet and received approval for it. It is expected to be held in October possibly at the same time as a referendum on changing a constitutional clause that protects the right of mothers to support for their work in the home. The votes on the two topics and may coincide with a presidential election, if one takes place.

The Constitutional Convention examined the “mother’s in the home” clause in 2013 and 98 per cent voted in favour of amending the wording to render it gender-neutral. It was also proposed to include other carers both “in the home” and “beyond the home”. Planning for a referendum on that issue is less advanced but the proposal is also expected to be put to voters in October.