317. Deputy Seamus Healy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality in view of the recent traumatic events in France and the recommendation of the Constitutional Convention, the plans the Government has to hold a referendum to exclude blasphemy from the Constitution Article 220.127.116.11; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3864/15]
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 contained in Article 18.104.22.168 of 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 month, the Taoiseach confirmed in the Dáil that the blasphemy referendum will not be held this year, as two referenda are already scheduled for this year.
In the meantime, my officials and I are working on preparing the necessary legislation which is included in the Government Legislative Programme for 2015, as announced on 14 January.