Atheist Ireland is campaigning for the repeal of the Irish blasphemy law.

For up-to-date details of this campaign, see our campaign website at and our Blasphemy Facebook Page.

Here is a quick overview of the blasphemy law and its impact on society.

The Defamation Act 2009 makes blasphemy a crime punishable by a €25,000 fine. Blasphemy 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” with safeguards to make it harder to prosecute.

Regardless of the detail, it is wrong in principle for a modern democratic republic to have any type of blasphemy law. Theological thought-crimes belong in the past. Religious and nonreligious people alike should be protected from harm and incitement to harm, but religious and nonreligious ideas alike should be open to any criticism. That is how human knowledge progresses. Blasphemy laws discriminate against nonreligious citizens, by protecting the fundamental beliefs of religious citizens only.

This law also has serious international impacts. Irish citizens could face blasphemy charges elsewhere under the European Arrest Warrant. Also, Islamic States are lobbying at the UN to make defamation of religion a crime internationally. Ireland has voted along with the other EU States against this, because Islamic States can use these laws to justify religious persecution. These Islamic States can now point to a modern pluralist Western State passing a new blasphemy law in the 21st century.

Sign our petition to Hold a referendum to repeal Ireland’s Blasphemy Laws.


  1. Avatar
    Soizick February 05, 2015

    Just dicovering that Ireland is now under an “antiblasphemy” law. As a Christian i vote for the repelling of a regulation both archaic, anti-right to think and anti-God. Without the right to criticise and not believe, there is no true faith !

  2. Avatar
    Rachel O'Brien February 13, 2015

    Religious laws should only apply to religious people wonder how long they would last then :/..

  3. Avatar
    Jim February 20, 2015

    Shocked to know that such a law exists in any form in my home country, but hopeful this absurdity will be stamped out from our constitution. It is embarrassing however that stagnant theocracies in the Islamic world look to Ireland for inspiration for their own demented revelations.

  4. Avatar
    charmed February 25, 2015


  5. Avatar
    Linda Hennessey February 25, 2015

    This is such a bad law

  6. Avatar
    Derek Hayden May 06, 2015

    could the church then challenge the results of the referendum on marriage equality, if these laws are still in place?

    • Avatar
      Andrew Doyle May 06, 2015

      Hi Derek – not sure what you mean. Are you asking if the marriage equality referendum could be considered blasphemy? The offence of blasphemy needs to be committed by a person who can then be prosecuted -so the short answer to your queston would be no.

  7. Avatar
    David Durand April 19, 2016

    Is burning in Hell for all eternity not enough? 😛

  8. Avatar
    Caitriona Murphy May 10, 2017

    Atheist Ireland: Please read the The Defamation Act 2009.
    There is no need to appeal it. It protects people of faith from being publicly abused and offended by a person intending to cause offense.
    If I walk around shouting God isn’t real and Christians are a**h*les, I’m committing blasphemy because I intentionally want to upset people around me.
    If I walk around shouting God isn’t real because I want to spread the word, I am allowed to do so, it is my right.

    • Avatar
      Jon June 14, 2017

      So using that logic a Muslim can say that Jesus is not the son of God, and it offends a group of Christians, then it is considered Blasphemy, or an Atheist can say that Mohammed was a Pedophile for marrying a child, then that is Blasphemy but if a Buddhist says that Atheists are a**h*les and there is a God then that is not Blasphemy because it offends no religious person? What if there is a group of people that worship a coke can and someone crushes a can in front of the group and they are offended is that Blasphemy? What if someone considers another’s act of faith offensive to their own faith?

      Free speech isn’t free without the right to offend or be offended.

  9. Avatar
    Simon watsham December 08, 2017

    Offence is an emotion and you can choose to be offended if you wish. Criticising religion or beliefs maybe offensive to some but it causes no harm. We need to distinguish between offence and harm.
    If your comments offend someone then so be it but no harm has come to them. If the offended reacts in a harmful manner it is not the fault of the person who made the offensive comment as we all have free choice over our actions.
    Let us not blame harmful actions on offensive comments.

  10. Avatar
    Jdk01 April 26, 2018

    I am confused.

    I am resident in Ireland, but I am not Irish.

    If I potentially commit blasphemy by writing a comment on my .com website (hosted outside of Ireland), am I breaking the blasphemy laws of Ireland?

    If yes, is it because I am writing the remark in Ireland? Or is it because I am sending for publication from Ireland ? Or both? Or?


    • Avatar
      Edward July 04, 2018

      hi, the fact that you are not Irish is irrelevant, all residents of Ireland are subject to the rights and obligations in the Constitution regardless of their nationality. However, in the situation you described, you are unlikely to be prosecuted because the AG has stated prosecutions for blasphemy would be very unlikely in the immediate future.

      The blasphemy law only applies to blasphemy committed in Ireland, the Irish authorities would have to show that you committed the offence while you were resident in the state. In the event of an investigation, they may wish to examine your computer etc and who had access to the computer at the time the comments were made. Again, all very unlikely given the current direction of the state towards a more secular future.

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    John Egan August 28, 2018

    Faith? Religion? 2018 and we are still so fundamentally flawed. This ridiculous law was enacted when the Cults had power over the state. When child rape and murder were hidden by all. Now that the Cults are exposed for what they are this nonsense must stop.
    A question no one has asked…if you were “Married” by a paedophile priest how is it legal and binding?


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