Hold a referendum to repeal Ireland's Blasphemy Laws


Hold a referendum to repeal Ireland's Blasphemy Laws

This petition made change with 5,382 supporters!
Atheist Ireland started this petition to An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD

Open Letter to An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD

Dear Taoiseach,

Last October, your government decided that a referendum should be held on removing the offence of blasphemy from the Irish Constitution and that your Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald would lead consultations on a bill to be put before the Oireachtas. The clear implication of this commitment was that the referendum would be held during the lifetime of this Government.

You have also said that you were “shocked and appalled by the brutal and horrific killings” at Charlie Hebdo but you must be aware that those who support murder for blasphemy also include the governments of many nations. The continuing case of Asia Bibi in Pakistan has received global attention and tragically, many others have already been executed for blasphemy.

Ireland is the only European country to have introduced a contemporary blasphemy law. At the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2009, Pakistan proposed the adoption of precise wording from the Irish blasphemy law, as part of efforts by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to limit Human Rights on freedom of conscience. 

As Professor Heiner Bielefeldt, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion, has advised Atheist Ireland to convey to the Constitutional Convention: “I wouldn’t expect any harsh verdicts being handed down in Ireland, but those countries that continue to have an intimidating anti-blasphemy practice like to quote European countries to unmask Western hypocrisy.”

The distinction between Ireland and those who carry out executions for blasphemy must consist of more than just the severity of the punishment applied upon conviction. Despite your recent prevarication, we the undersigned urge you to lead by example and comply with your promise of a referendum to repeal all Irish blasphemy laws. 

It is your duty to take a strong position on behalf of those intimidated into silence in Ireland and more importantly, on behalf of those facing execution by nations who cite Irish blasphemy laws in justification and mitigation of their behaviour. 

Yours Sincerely,

JOHN HAMILL - AI Campaign Against Blasphemy Laws

MICHAEL NUGENT - Chairperson, Atheist Ireland

RICHARD DAWKINS - Evolutionary Biologist and Author

STEVEN PINKER - Cognitive Scientist and Author

JIM AL-KHALILI - Theoretical Physicist and Broadcaster

LAWRENCE KRAUSS - Theoretical Physicist and Author

MARYAM NAMAZIE - Author and Human Rights Activist

JERRY COYNE - Evolutionary Biologist and Author

CAROLYN PORCO - Planetary Scientist

ED BYRNE - Comedian and Actor

MICHAEL SHERMER - Author and Historian of Science

SEAN CARROLL - Theoretical Physicist at Caltech

DANIEL DENNETT - Cognitive Scientist and Author           

AOIFE MCLYSAGHT - Geneticist and Science Communicator

ANDREW COPSON - Chief Executive, British Humanists

TOBY YOUNG - Journalist and Broadcaster

IAIN MIDDLETON - President, Humanist Society of New Zealand

RORY O’NEILL - Gay Rights Activist

ERIC ADRIAANS - National Executive Director, CFI Canada

CHRISTINE SHELLSKA - President, Atheist Alliance International

MICHEL VIRARD - President, Quebec Humanists

SONJA EGGERICKX - President, International Humanist Union

PIERRE GALAND - President, European Humanist Federation

HELENA SHEEHAN - Author and DCU Professor Emerita

HOPE KNUTSSON - President, Icelandic Humanist Association

LONE FRANK - Neurobiologist and Science Journalist


PATRICIA CHURCHLAND - Neurophilosopher and Author

NONIE DARWISH - Director, Former Muslims United

KATE SMURTHWATE - Comedian and Activist

NINA SANKARI - Vice-President Atheist Coalition, Poland

MICHAEL DE DORA - Representative to the United Nations, CFI

TASLIMA NASRIN - Author and Poet

DAVID NASH - Author and Blasphemy Law Historian

DAVID NORRIS - Senator and Civil Rights Activist

JOSEPH RUSSEL TETTEH - President, Ghana Atheist Alliance

SÉAMUS DOOLEY - Irish Secretary, National Union of Journalists

ALICE CARR - President, Progressive Atheists

ELIDA RADIG - Broadcaster and Feminist

HEMANT MEHTA - Editor of FriendlyAtheist.com

CLARE DALY -TD for Dublin North

DEBORAH HYDE - Editor of The Skeptic

MICK WALLACE - TD for Wexford

ANN BRUSSEEL - Member of Flemish Parliament


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