Blasphemy and the Constitution


Sir, – Richard Dawkins offers himself up for arrest on blasphemy charges in his letter of May 10th. However, I would suggest that the Garda will be too busy to deal with his “case”. First, it is currently preoccupied with trying to find a number of people who were actually offended by Stephen Fry’s remarks to Gay Byrne in The Meaning of Life programme. Second, it has a large workload carrying out an unbelievable number of drink-driving checks. Third, it needs to follow the money trail in Templemore Garda College. At a higher level, the Garda Commissioner is tied up in meetings lasting between 10 minutes and two hours. – Yours, etc,


Rathfarnham, Dublin 16.

Sir, – The Lord God has no need of the protection of our law nor Constitution. However, we do well to speak respectfully on all matters and with a loving spirit. To do otherwise says more about the speaker than the one spoken of. – Yours, etc,



Co Wicklow.

Sir, – The discussion of the Stephen Fry blasphemy fiasco seems to approach the topic as if our blasphemy law were a holdover from the reign of John Charles McQuaid, when in fact the law was pushed through as recently as 2009 by the then-government of Fianna Fáil and the Greens.

No-one seems exactly clear on what that government’s motivation was but, given the backdrop of nearly three decades of the advance of Islamic fundamentalism, surely it is as likely to have been proposed as much as a sop to fashionable multiculturalism as it was to an increasingly unfashionable and scandal-prone Catholic Church.

As good Europeans, to show solidarity in things that really matter, the law should have been repealed on the morning after the Charlie Hebdo massacre. That would have been the morally courageous thing to do. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 11.

Sir, – That Stephen Fry would be held to account for an anachronistic infraction like blasphemy will hopefully be dismissed as a nonsense. The case I think he does have to answer, however, is why did he take such unnecessarily virulent aim at something or someone whom he palpably believes not to exist? While there might not be a God to take umbrage at his invective, there are people of faith who were always going to bristle.

Stephen Fry has not committed an offence, but he has given it. And in a world where outrage is all-too-common currency, this maelstrom in a teacup is as unsurprising as it is absurd. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 16.

A chara, – Following Richard Dawkins’s blasphemous letter (May 10th), I definitely will not be at the National Concert Hall on June 12th for more of his blasphemy. – Is mise,


An Charraig Dhubh,

Co Átha Cliath.

A chara, – So the Garda could not find a large number of people who were outraged by Stephen Fry’s comments.

Could it not just have made up a number? – Yours, etc,