145. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she has given consideration to repealing the current legislation dealing with blasphemy; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24152/15]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The Deputy will be aware that the Government agreed last September to hold a referendum on removing the offence of blasphemy from the Constitution, in response to the 6th Report of the Convention on the Constitution.
The work necessary to prepare a Referendum Bill and a Bill to amend the current legislative provision for the offence of blasphemy is ongoing in my Department.
An appropriate date for the Referendum will be decided by Government when the legislation has been prepared. Earlier this year, the Taoiseach confirmed in the Dáil that the blasphemy referendum will not be held before March 2016.
In the meantime, my officials and I are working on preparing the necessary legislation, which is included in the current Government Legislative Programme. Question No. 146 answered with Question No. 138.