Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
By Henry McDonald
Irish atheists and secularists have accused their government of breaking a promise to call a referendum over the Republic’s controversial blasphemy laws in the lifetime of the current coalition.
Atheist Ireland expressed disappointment that the government had quietly dropped plans for a plebiscite to rid the country of the legislation, which secularists have argued are incompatible with modern Ireland.
Last year, the Fine Gael-Labour coalition had promised a referendum on the blasphemy law to coincide with two other votes on gay marriage equality and lowering the age for when a citizen can become president of the state.
Earlier this month, however, the government confirmed that referenda will be held in the spring on gay marriage and the age of a presidential candidate, but excluded a national vote on blasphemy.
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