Irish voters overwhelmingly agreed to remove the offence of blasphemy from the country’s constitution in Friday’s referendum, held concurrently with the Presidential election.
Nearly 65 per cent of voters approved the measure, eliminating an offence that was last prosecuted in 1855. All 40 of the Republic’s constituencies were in favour of the reform, the second in a promised series of modernising referenda set in train by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Fine Gael).
The margin of victory for ‘Yes’ was very similar to that in the more significant abortion law reform referendum held in May, which was passed by 66 to 34 per cent. Constituencies in the west of Ireland, notably Donegal, were the least enthusiastic about the blasphemy law change, while the greater Dublin area showed the strongest support – again, an echo of the abortion referendum result.
IRELAND: REFERENDUM 26 October 2018
Regulation of offence of publication or utterance of blasphemous matter Bill 2018
YES 951,650 (64.85 per cent)
NO 515,808 (35.15 per cent)
Eligible voters: 3,401,652
Total votes: 1,489,694
Valid votes: 1,467,458
Invalid votes: 22,236
Turnout: 43.79 per cent.
Source: Irish Times. Full results here.