Repeal of Blasphemy clause another ‘significant step in Ireland becoming a modern, secular and more compassionate society

27th October 2018                         Humanist Association of Ireland


Repeal of Blasphemy clause another ‘significant step in Ireland becoming a modern, secular and more compassionate society’

Many more hurdles to overcome before the rights of non-religious are fully realised in Ireland

“Today’s referendum results represent another significant milestone for Ireland in becoming a modern, secular and more compassionate society.” said Noeleen Hartigan, CEO of the Humanist Association of Ireland.

“However, there are still several significant hurdles to be overcome before the non-religious can fully participate in Irish society without discrimination.

On Monday morning thousands of children from non-religious families will attend Roman Catholic schools because their parents, as taxpayers, have no other option. While the lifting of the baptismal barrier is welcome, real reform in terms of delivering non-denominational education, as opposed to simply not excluding children based on faith, needs to follow.

On Tuesday our elected parliamentarians will say Christian prayers in the Dail and Seanad before they begin their working day on our behalf. Yet 10% of the adult population identify themselves as being non-religious.

On November 11th, our President, who is elected by all people, not just those of faith, will swear a constitutionally prescribed declaration to God during the inauguration (Article 12.8). His Council of State must make the same declaration, (Article 31.4) as do every single judge appointed in the country (Article 34.6).

Everyday our laws are defined, and our lawmakers informed by a Constitution that pledges the country, above all else, not to its people, but to ‘Almighty God’.

Ireland has a unique, rich and increasingly diverse culture, some of this culture is informed by the dominant faiths of the past. But our past should not prescribe our future, and the laws and practices which give one faith system dominance over people’s lives must be dismantled.’


For further information contact:

Noeleen Hartigan, CEO HAI – 087 61 67 689

Steve Rawson, Chairperson HAI – 087 235 7551


The Humanist Association of Ireland is a community of people who believe in humanist principles and aspire to a fair, balanced, ethical and responsible secular society. The HAI campaigns for the equal treatment of people of no religion by the State and provides a forum for people to meet, share experiences and develop their humanist ideals in an informal, friendly, and inclusive environment.

The European Humanist Federation have also welcomed the repeal of Blasphemy in Irish Constitution


Article 12.8 Bunreacht na hEireann

The President shall enter upon his office by taking and subscribing publicly, in the presence of members of both houses of the Oireachtas, of Judges of the Supreme Court, of the Court of Appeal and of the High Court, and other public personages, the following declaration:

In the presence of Almighty God I do solemnly and sincerely promise and declare that I will maintain the constitution of Ireland and uphold its laws, that I will fulfil my duties faithfully and conscientiously in accordance with the constitution and the law, and that I will dedicate my abilities to the service and welfare of the people of Ireland. May God direct and sustain me.”