Workers’ Party representative for Dublin North-West, Gavin Mendel-Gleason, has responded to the row over Stephen Fry’s comments with a call for a new constitution

Mendel-Gleason stated:

‘The farcical investigation into Stephen Fry’s comments shows that Ireland urgently needs a new, secular constitution – one stripped of the religious content that was inserted to please the Catholic Church. The 1937 constitution has always underpinned the reactionary nature of this so-called Republic and has been used by successive governments as an excuse not to secularise Ireland.’

Mendel-Gleason continued:

‘Our blasphemy laws are deeply reactionary and have an impact beyond our own borders. Pakistan, a country which has sentenced citizens to death for the crime of blasphemy, used an excerpt from Ireland’s blasphemy laws in a proposal to the United Nations in 2009. Ireland’s legislation therefore provides justification for laws in Pakistan which have caused the death of many people and endanger the lives of many more.’

Mendel-Gleason concluded with a call for a constitutional convention:

‘A constitutional convention must now be established to draw up a new, secular constitution reflective of the wishes of the Irish people who are clearly far ahead of their politicians on this issue. This is a vital step towards building a secular Republic in this country. The outcome of the Citizens’ Assembly on abortion rights and the outrage over the ownership of the new National Maternity Hospital shows that the majority of Irish people now want a secular Ireland.’