Monday, July 13, 2009

Ireland bans free speech

Pretty much exactly. The Irish Dáil (Ireland's parliament) has passed a major bit of new legislation aimed at reforming Irish libel and blasphemy laws, legislature that pretty much annihilates the very concept of "free speech" in the county. So that's another place I definitely won't be going to any time soon. (Not that I had plans to, either.)

The Defamation Bill, which also introduces a new crime of blasphemous libel, will come into operation after it is passed by the Seanad later this week and signed into law by President Mary McAleese.


The new laws are expected to be in full operation by October.

Just wait 'til you see what the legislation states is now illegal speech in Ireland: basically put, anyone who utters a single blasphemous word – ie. "Your religion is SHITE, mate" – can be ordered to pay up to €25,000. That's just a few cents short of $35.000, according to today's exchange rates. Here's the official text of the legislation, from Ed Brayton's post on the matter:

36. Publication or utterance of blasphemous matter.

(1) A person who publishes or utters blasphemous matter shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable upon conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding €100,000. [Amended to €25,000]

(2) For the purposes of this section, a person publishes or utters blasphemous matter if (a) he or she publishes or utters 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, and (b) he or she intends, by the publication or utterance of the matter concerned, to cause such outrage.

(3) It shall be a defence to proceedings for an offence under this section for the defendant to prove that a reasonable person would find genuine literary, artistic, political, scientific, or academic value in the matter to which the offence relates.

37. Seizure of copies of blasphemous statements.

(1) Where a person is convicted of an offence under section 36, the court may issue a warrant (a) authorising any member of the Garda Siochana to enter (if necessary by the use of reasonable force) at all reasonable times any premises (including a dwelling) at which he or she has reasonable grounds for believing that copies of the statement to which the offence related are to be found, and to search those premises and seize and remove all copies of the statement found therein, (b) directing the seizure and removal by any member of the Garda Siochana of all copies of the statement to which the offence related that are in the possession of any person, © specifying the manner in which copies so seized and removed shall be detained and stored by the Garda Siochana.

(2) A member of the Garda Siochana may (a) enter and search any premises, (b) seize, remove and detain any copy of a statement to which an offence under section 36 relates found therein or in the possession of any person, in accordance with a warrant under subsection (1).

(3) Upon final judgment being given in proceedings for an offence under section 36, anything seized and removed under subsection (2) shall be disposed of in accordance with such directions as the court may give upon an application by a member of the Garda Siochana in that behalf.

October 2009. Remember that date, folks, as the day free speech in Ireland was slaughtered by religiots and zealots.

Under the changes, the maximum fine for blasphemy will be cut from €100,000 to €25,000.

Right. That's so much fucking better. So now you're only broke by $35K, as opposed to before. Such a relief, I'm sure, and all because you dared to say that stupid beliefs are just that – stupid.

What a world.

(via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)


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