No blasphemy vote until after general election, says Taoiseach

Enda Kenny said Government felt it was better to put changes recommended by Constitutional Conventiontion to the people on a phased basis

The Taoiseach after signing the book of condolence, at the French embassy in Dublin, for the victims of the shootings at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

The Taoiseach after signing the book of condolence, at the French embassy in Dublin, for the victims of the shootings at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

 

A referendum on removing the offence of blasphemy from the Constitution will not be held during the lifetime of this Government, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said.

The Government agreed last year that a referendum should be held, following the recommendation of the Constitutional Convention that the blasphemy clause should be removed.

However, the Cabinet decision was only that “the referendum will take place at an appropriate date to be decided by Government, after the necessary further consultations have been completed and the required legislation has been prepared”.

Speaking to RTÉ News in Mayo, Mr Kenny said the Coalition felt it is better to put changes recommended by the convention to the people on a phased basis.

Mr Kenny said two referendums would be held this year – one on same-sex marriage and another on reducing the voting age for Presidential elections. Both are expected to be held in May, on the same day as the by-election in Carlow-Kilkenny to fill the Dáil seat vacated by European Commissioner Phil Hogan.

Mr Kenny said he did not want to hold more than two referendums on one day because it might take the focus away from the other issues.