Half of Irish electorate supports abolition of blasphemy

Government to hold referendum to delete offence from Constitution in 2015

Half the electorate supports the removal of the offence of blasphemy from the constitution, the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI report suggests. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Half the electorate supports the removal of the offence of blasphemy from the constitution, the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI report suggests. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

 

Exactly half the electorate supports the abolition of the offence of blasphemy from the Constitution, but a substantial number of people have not made up their minds on the issue, according to the poll.

The Government announced recently that a referendum to delete the offence of blasphemy will be held next year along with a number of other referendums.

Asked how they would vote, 50 per cent said they would vote Yes to delete the offence, 19 per cent said they would vote No, 26 per cent had no opinion and 5 per cent said they would not vote.

Opposition to the proposal was significantly higher among Sinn Féin voters than those of other parties.

The strongest support for the abolition of the offence was registered among Labour voters.

Fine Gael voters were less enthusiastic followed by Fianna Fáil and supporters of Independents/Others.

There were also variations across regions, class an age groups on the issue with Dublin voters most supportive of the proposal and those living in Connacht Ulster the least. In age terms the strongest support for the proposal came from the 35 to 49 cohort with the over 65s being the most likely to vote No. There was also a pronounced variation across the social classes with the AB category most supportive of the move while the DE category was the least supportive.