I am going to write to the Taoiseach of Ireland the following letter. I would appreciate any feedback or correction for inaccuracy if this letter does not reflect something of historical or cultural significance. The purpose for those who do not know is to abolish the blasphemy law of Ireland that was resurrected in 2009. There are many groups involved in requesting a referendum. 

I am requesting something a bit bolder than a simple referendum. I am requesting that the Taoiseach HIMSELF draft a bill that changes the entire Constitution in Ireland to eliminate all mention of blasphemy. This is rare. But it can be done. He has the power to do it. I will include a list of references as well as his contact information so that you too can write him requesting that he propose a bill before the people to remove it. Let the Irish citizens vote on it. 

This is a time when the people of Ireland, particularly secular/atheist organizations and many, many, many people who are working SO diligently to change this law, need OUR help. (you and me.) It is not about flaunting that we are atheists. Notice I made no mention in this letter that I am an atheist. It's about the fact that this law is being emulated in the muslim world as an excuse for violence and sentencing innocent people to death.

Within Ireland it is the root cause of a stark and chilling discrimination, particularly for children in schools. It affects children's ability to express themselves freely. Their parents are essentially forced to keep them participating in Catholicism in order to have preferential treatment above other children whose parents are not Catholic. 

The time to act is NOW. For the first time ever Enda Kenny has been made aware of these issues on a far deeper level. He met with Atheist Ireland's Michael Nugent and Jane Donnelly (which Reg has highlighted in Sunday School several times). This was amazingly historic because it was the first ever formal meeting between a Taoiseach and an atheist advocacy group in the history of the State. Isn't that SO AMAZING?

So it's fresh on his mind. Now we need some international pressure. There are many requests that Atheist Ireland has worked hard to diligently prepare to fight this very real, very important issue. and I applaud everyone who has been a part of that! But as individual citizens of the world WE ALL have the ability to make our voice be heard!!!

So without further ado, here is my letter. I am open to feedback on it:

Dear Taoiseach:

I am writing to express my concerns about the Defamation Act of 2009, written in the Acts of the Oireachtas, Sections 36-37 pertaining to the blasphemy laws that Ireland has continued to support.

I’m sure you now have been made aware that the blasphemy laws that the Constitution of Ireland reinstated in 2009 when the Fianna Fáil was in power, are being used as manipulative weapons to aid the Islamic world to violate human rights for both men and women in multiple countries.

Perhaps the most disturbing example of how your country’s blasphemy law is being used as a weapon to violate human rights is in the case of Aasiya Noreen (aka Asia Bibi). The Pakistani Christian mother of 5 has been sentenced to death by hanging. The only thing that has kept her alive is the plea from her supporters. Among her supporters is Pope Benedict XVI himself.

So I must ask you, Taoiseach, how is it that a nation with such deep Catholic and Christian history, has managed to enact and uphold a law in the 21st century when only one year prior, the original law from which it was originally inspired, had already been abolished? The United Kingdom did away completely with the blasphemy law in May of 2008 as part of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act of 2008.  

The Irish Council has been quoted as saying that the blasphemy reference in the Constitution is, “largely obsolete.” If the law were obsolete but benign, perhaps it would not need to be abolished completely. However, both you and I know that this law is enabling violence around the world. I am equally as distraught as you were over the Charlie Hebdo attack.

Following the motto of the Sinn Fein, “building an Ireland of equals,” is a great path for you to take the people of Ireland toward, so that discrimination will not prevail within your country’s borders. However, I’m afraid that your country is not the only place people are being hurt and discriminated against due to the Irish blasphemy law. The entire world is being affected. I am an American citizen, and I must say that news of your law has spread far and wide in our country. For the reasons I have mentioned above, I am asking you personally to introduce a bill to the Dáil that removes any mention or hint of the word "blasphemy" in Bunreacht na hEireann.

I want you to introduce a private members bill to change the Constitution of your country to abolish any mention of blasphemy so that it can never again be used as an excuse for violence.  Let the Irish citizens of your beautiful republic vote on it. I know that the people of Ireland will do the right thing. You are the Father of the Dáil, and you have the ability to do so.

The world is watching. You have the power to do something tremendous for human rights, and for the rights of women. I understand that you are married to a strong, beautiful woman. How would you feel if she were sentenced to death over a quarrel with a neighbor?

Please bring forth a bill to change the Constitution of Ireland to abolish blasphemy completely and finally, so that no subsequent leader that follows in your footsteps can resurrect the bill and perpetuate more violence across the globe.

In the words of Edmund Burke, your fellow Irishmen, The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Please abolish your blasphemy law once and for all. Do it soon. The world is waiting.


With respect and urgency,

                              Belle Rose




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Replies to This Discussion

For those who would like to do something similar, here is his information. 

Postal Address:  
Department of the Taoiseach, Government Buildings, Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2
Phone: 353 1 619 4000 
Lo-Call Number:
 1890 227 227 Note that the rates charged for the use of 1890 (LoCall) numbers may vary among different service providers.
 353 1 6763302 - See more at: http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/eng/Contact_Us/#sthash.kfn6QND3.dpuf

References used in research/writing this letter:

  • "Defamation Act 2009." Irish Statute. Office of the Attorney General. Web. 21 Feb. 2015. a href="http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/2009/en/act/pub/0031/sec0036.html>" target="_blank">http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/2009/en/act/pub/0031/sec0036.html>;.
  • "Repeal the Irish Blasphemy Law." Blasphemy.ie. Atheist Ireland. Web. 21 Feb. 2015. a href="http://www.blasphemy.ie/history-of-irish-blasphemy-law/>" target="_blank">http://www.blasphemy.ie/history-of-irish-blasphemy-law/>;.
  • McDonald, Henry. "Ireland Set to Call Referendum on Blasphemy Laws." The Guardian. Atheist Ireland, 14 Sept. 2014. Web. 21 Feb. 2015. a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/30/ireland-referendum-blasphemy-law>" target="_blank">http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/30/ireland-referendum-bla...;.
  • "Sinn Féin." Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, 16 Feb. 2015. Web. 21 Feb. 2015. a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinn_F" target="_blank">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinn_Féin>.
  • "An Evil That Resonates." The Economist. The Economist Newspaper Limited, 17 Oct. 2014. Web. 21 Feb. 2015. a href="http://www.economist.com/blogs/erasmus/2014/10/blasphemy-pakistan-and-ireland>" target="_blank">http://www.economist.com/blogs/erasmus/2014/10/blasphemy-pakistan-a...;.
  • "The Irish Counci of Churches Says Blasphemy Reference in Constitution Is 'largely Obsolete'" The Journal. The Journal.ie, 2 Nov. 2014. Web. 21 Feb. 2015. a href="http://www.thejournal.ie/irish-council-of-churches-blasphemy-1158078-Nov2013/>" target="_blank">http://www.thejournal.ie/irish-council-of-churches-blasphemy-115807...;.
  • Kelly, Antoinette. "Islamic States Use Ireland's Blasphemy Law in Persecuting Indian Dissident." Irish Central. Irish Central LLC, 27 Nov. 2012. Web. 21 Feb. 2015. a href="http://www.irishcentral.com/news/islamic-states-use-irelands-blasphemy-law-in-persecuting-indian-dissident-180979121-237550211.html>" target="_blank">http://www.irishcentral.com/news/islamic-states-use-irelands-blasph...;.
  • "Dawkins among Atheists Urging Irish Prime Minister to Hold Blasphemy Law Referendum."Alliance Defending Freedum. Alliance Defending Freedum, 12 Feb. 2015. Web. 21 Feb. 2015. a href="http://www.alliancealert.org/2015/02/12/dawkins-among-atheists-urging-irish-pm-to-hold-blasphemy-law-referendum/>" target="_blank">http://www.alliancealert.org/2015/02/12/dawkins-among-atheists-urgi...;.
  • "Constitutional Referendum in Ireland." Citizens Information. Citizens Information Board, 18 July 2013. Web. 21 Feb. 2015. a href="http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/government_in_ireland/elections_and_referenda/referenda/constitutional_referendum_in_ireland.html>" target="_blank">http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/government_in_ireland/election...;.
  • "Legislation." Citizens Information. Citizens Information Board, 8 Dec. 2012. Web. 21 Feb. 2015. a href="http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/government_in_ireland/national_government/houses_of_the_oireachtas/legislation.html>" target="_blank">http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/government_in_ireland/national...;.
  • "Private Members Bills." Citizens Information. Citizens Information Board, 6 Nov. 2009. Web. 21 Feb. 2015. a href="http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/government_in_ireland/national_government/houses_of_the_oireachtas/private_members_bills.html>" target="_blank">http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/government_in_ireland/national...;.
  • Doyle, Andrew. "Blasphemy Open Letter to An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD." Blasphemy.ie. Atheist Ireland, 10 Feb. 2015. Web. 21 Feb. 2015. a href="http://www.blasphemy.ie/2015/02/10/blasphemy-open-letter-to-an-taoiseach/>" target="_blank">http://www.blasphemy.ie/2015/02/10/blasphemy-open-letter-to-an-taoi...;.
  • "Department of the Taoiseach." Roinn an Taoisigh. Department of the Taoiseach, 1 Jan. 2013. Web. 21 Feb. 2015. a href="http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/eng/Contact_Us/>" target="_blank">http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/eng/Contact_Us/>;.
  • "Atheist Ireland Begins Ongoing Dialogue with Government at Historic First Meeting with Taoiseach." Atheist Ireland. Atheist.ie, 11 Feb. 2015. Web. 21 Feb. 2015. a href="http://atheist.ie/2015/02/historic-first-meeting-taoiseach/>" target="_blank">http://atheist.ie/2015/02/historic-first-meeting-taoiseach/>;.
Now in re-reading it I realized that I failed to mention in the letter that pakistan is saying that the Irish law is a "model to follow" for blasphemy....

I suppose I assumed he was aware of that, perhaps I need to clarify...hmmmm.

Well it's my rough draft! Lol

"your country’s blasphemy law is being uses as a weapon" - is being uses? You mean, "used"?

building and Ireland of equals” - "an Ireland"?

"For these reasons, and many more, would require a conscious choice on your part" - where's your subject?

Not criticising Belle, but you asked for help --

Yes, thank you! Those details are VERY important!!!!

There, all fixed :) That's why we EDIT!! LOL

Well done Belle Rose, I will add to this later. Very busy with work project at the moment.

Fyi – Taoiseach is the Gaelic for Prime Minister and pronounced “T-shock”.

See here for more info on some of the work Michael Nugent and Atheist Ireland do. We also do course on how to petition your local politicians and on engaging with the media. The meeting last week was very significant as it was the first time an Atheist organisation got to meet with “the chief”. Atheist Ireland is now called on by the mainstream media by default when “a non-religious view” is required to give balance to a broadcast. Considering that the religious are always lobbying for airtime mean have to be called to maintain a fair debate.

In case you did not see this before here is our “chief” talking about a report on clerical child abuse. It is powerful.

Thanks Reg :) Can you clarify if Atheist Ireland is trying to petition to change the Constitution as well? In all my research is wasn't clear to me, as there are many ways a "referendum" can be held. A Constitutional change is very different than simply introducing a bill, and one of the excuses reasons the 2009 legislation went into effect was to comply with the Constitution requiring a blasphemy law...so....the constitution needs to change. But it doesn't look like citizens can simply request that, it has to be done by someone from the Dail, (someone like the Chief, lol). But from what I've read this so-called "referendum" they are promising wouldn't be a constitutional change....would it?

I'm confused and just need clarification on that.....lol

I will elaborate on it soon. In the meanwhile you may find some inspiration in this letter and its signatories. See also the rest of the website for more. 

Thank you Reg, your insight is appreciated. Yes that letter was one of my inspirations :) it is very well written and the signatures do carry a lot of "clout." (I'm not sure if that is the right word)....

There is no "rush" in response. I understand you are busy. I am hoping that this letter will serve as inspiration for other people to do the same. The more noise we make, the more pressure they will feel to act on their promises....

As far as I'm concerned, "promises" from government is empty until fulfilled. I think international pressure would go a long way in urging some real action. I hope to be a part of that.

All efforts are appreciated. I have campaigned on many issues in the past and it is often the international attention that gets best results. No country wants to be in under the spotlight for the wrong reasons. It does tend to carry more “clout” (good word).  It is great to have Dawkins sign it but hundreds of individual ones keeps the pressure on.

PS. I am going to a Dawkins and Krauss lecture tomorrow evening!!

Yaay!!! I'm SO jealous!!!! Have fun Reg, maybe you'll end up in a youtube video! (imagine that!)

Well, I'll get my peeps to make some noise, sort of like the man behind the curtain, (aka the wizard of Oz)...even a group of 10 or 15 people can portray a "large" presence, lol....


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