Liam van der Spek Welcomes Referendum on Removal of Blasphemy Offence
Issued : Wednesday 13 June, 2018
Cavan Labour Party Local Area Representative Liam van der Spek has welcomed the government’s proposal to hold a referendum on blasphemy later this year.
Liam van der Spek said:
“The article relating to blasphemy is long overdue for removal from our constitution.
“Ireland, and Cavan, are no longer the monolithic societies they once were, and our laws and constitution should reflect that. Recent referendum results on Marriage Equality and the 8th Amendment are evidence of a significant change in what we value as a country.
“The kind of Ireland we should be striving towards is a secular one, equally welcoming to those of all faiths and none.
“While the practical implications of such a change may be minimal, the symbolic aspect is incredibly relevant when this island’s history is plagued with religious division.
“If the prospect of a united Ireland is to occur, which I believe is likely in my lifetime, then that is all the more reason to ensure that those of all religious backgrounds and traditions are held in the same regard by the state.
“Religious belief or lack of is a private matter, and the state should not discriminate against or unfairly favour any one belief over another.
“Other minor relics of our past should similarly be expanded to be inclusive of every Irish citizen, such as exclusionary religious oaths of office.
“We should also assess the situation in education where the overwhelming majority of public schools currently reside under religious patronage. The citizen’s assembly may be the best place to do that as suggested by Labour Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin.