NUJ calls for repeal of Ireland’s blasphemy laws
10 January 2017
The NUJ has called for the repeal of Ireland’s blasphemy laws and for reform of the country’s defamation legislation.
In a submission to the review, ordered by justice minister Frances Fitzgerald, the NUJ's Irish executive council has broken ranks with media owners by calling for the retention of juries in defamation trials.
Séamus Dooley, NUJ Irish secretary, stressed that the review could not be viewed in isolation from the union’s overall approach to press freedom, saying:
"The current defamation regime can result in exceptionally high penalties, fines which could endanger the very existence of media organisations. The law, by definition, is open to the rich and powerful. In Ireland our focus has been to campaign for libel reform coupled with the development of a robust system of independent press regulation. Our experience is that those wronged by the press are not out to make a quick buck but want an efficient, fair and affordable system of redress.
"Ireland’s blasphemy law is predicated on an outmoded constitutional provision which should be amended. While there have been no convictions under the law of blasphemy it has no place in a modern democracy."
Download the union's full submission to the review.