Irish blasphemy laws set for repeal after poll win

Exit polls indicate that Irish voters support a repeal of a blasphemy law from the constitutionMore

Exit polls indicate that Irish voters support a repeal of a blasphemy law from the constitutionMore

"It has always been my view that there is no room for a provision such as this in our constitution".

The result came hours after Michael D Higgins romped home with the biggest margin of victory for any presidential election victor in the history of Ireland. "Ireland is rightly proud of our reputation as a modern, liberal society", Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said, cited by AFP.

Incumbent Irish President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina cast their votes at the polling station in Pheonix Park, Dublin, Ireland, Friday Oct. 26, 2018.

It is now illegal to publish or speak of anything "grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters sacred by any religion".

Stephen Fry called God "stupid" during an interview, prompting a police investigation.

Following a referendum on Friday, 65 percent of voters agreed to change the medieval law which now makes it a criminal offence to publish or utter a blasphemous comment.

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The Irish Independent newspaper estimated that turnout was less than 45 percent, the lowest ever for a presidential election.

The news was confirmed shortly after 11pm on Saturday night.

The re-election of Higgins, a 77-year-old former parliamentary politician, academic and poet, was presented as a foregone conclusion for much of the campaign.

The vote was controversial only in the second-place finish of businessman Peter Casey, who won 23.3 percent of the vote after making critical comments about the Traveller community, a traditionally itinerant ethnic group, and asserting that Ireland has a culture of welfare dependency.

Some 65% of those who voted backed the move during a referendum held alongside Friday's presidential election.

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