Ryan McChrystal: Ireland's blasphemy laws only encouraged countries that punish apostasy with death
08 Nov 2018

In October 2018 Ireland voted — with a significant majority — to amend article 40.6.1 of its constitution to remove the criminalisation of the “publication or utterance” of anything deemed blasphemous. All major political parties backed the reform and even the Catholic Church agreed the law was “largely obsolete”. Although no one had ever been convicted of blasphemy in Ireland, the potential €25,000 fine caused many to self-censor. The most worrying aspect of Ireland’s blasphemy legislation was that it was cited by the Organisation of Islamic States at the UN — led by Pakistan — as best practice. Under Pakistani law, blasphemy is punishable by death.

Index on Censorship welcomed the amendment article 40.6.1. Index’s assistant online editor, Ryan McChrystal, spoke to Voice of Islam about the vote.

[Update: This article has been amended to clarify details of the amendment to article 40.6.1]

Also read: Beyond belief: Will Ireland’s new government finally phase out the country’s blasphemy law?

Cineworld’s cancellation of Lady of Heaven screenings: an unheavenly response

Cineworld has cancelled all UK screenings of a film in what sets a worrying precedent

Petition calls on Denmark to repeal blasphemy ban

An international group of academics, writers and activists have signed a petition calling on Denmark to repeal its ban against blasphemy.

Russia: Death threats force comedian into exile

A popular Russia vlogger and comedian is facing condemnation and possible charges for a satirical video.

Jacob Mchangama: Denmark’s revived blasphemy ban

The decision by prosecutors in Viborg to charge a man with blasphemy for burning a Koran shocked Danes.

Ryan McChrystal

2 responses to “Ryan McChrystal: Ireland’s blasphemy laws only encouraged countries that punish apostasy with death”

  1. Terry Bell says:

    Perhaps Ireland should have taken a leaf out of South Africa’s Bill of Rights and excluded from freedom of expression only “propaganda for war, incitement of imminent violence [and] advocacy of hatred….that constitutes incitement to cause harm”. Retaining the undefined “seditious and indecent matter” leaves open to the state, subjective interpretation. What, indeed, is seditious, never mind indecent?

  2. Éibhear says:


    Pedantic correct: Article 40.6.1 remains in the Constitition. 40.6.1.i was amended to remove the word “blasphemous” from the following sentence: “The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law.”

    Uttering seditious or indecent matter continue to be an offence.