Higgins lashes out at anti-blasphemy plan (June 25th, 2009)

June 25, 2009 at 1:35 pm Leave a comment

Joe Higgins’ phone is ringing off the hook. When we finally got through to him this week, the newly-elected Socialist MEP explained that he’s still dealing with a backlog of media requests while he goes about hiring assistants and setting up a base at the European Parliament. In between finding his feet in Brussels, Higgins has also had to attend celebrations in his honour this week in Dublin and his native Kerry village of Lispole, and speak at conferences and rallies opposing the Lisbon Treaty.
But the tireless Socialist still found time this week to tear into government plans to ban blasphemy. In a statement, Mr Higgins blasted the move as ‘an enormous attack on freedom of expression’ that was ‘reminiscent of the Dark Ages’. Under the government proposal, an amendment would be inserted into the Defamation Bill making anyone guilty of blasphemy liable to a fine ‘not exceeding €100,000’. The plan aims to protect people from discrimination or incitement to hatred on religious grounds. But Mr Higgins claims the law would ‘cut across the freedom to express opinions that may be contrary to a religion’s core belief yet or in no way racist or discriminatory’. He is also concerned that the fine could be used by the state ‘to shackle socialists, trade unionists and activists who are seen as a threat’.

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Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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