In October the Irish people will be asked to repeal the clause in the constitution that makes blasphemy illegal in Ireland. In 2009 Fianna Fáil introduced a law that gave effect to this clause. Stephen Fry was threatened by this law because of what he said in an interview he gave on the programme the meaning of life to presenter Gay Byrne. Certain repressive religious countries have used the Irish law as an excuse to enact their own anti blasphemy laws. Christians and atheists have suffered in Pakistan because of these anti blasphemy laws.
Michael Nugent of Atheist Ireland is leading a campaign to repeal this clause from the constitution. Atheists are not the only ones who are affected by blasphemy laws. Freedom of speech and all people are affected by this clause in the constitution.
As a Christian i want a Republic where all people both religious and non religious are given equal rights and respect in society. As a Christian I believe God doesn’t need a state to defend religion. If Christianity needs a state to defend itself how do we explain its survival in times of persecution.
For science to advance we need freedom of thought and freedom to debate and critic ideas. Blasphemy laws have a chilling effect on freedom of speech. Our blasphemy laws have been used to persecute people in other countries. I will be voting to remove this clause from our constitution in October. I am urging everyone to vote to repeal the blasphemy clause from the constitution next October. A secular Republic harms no one. It guarantees freedom of religion and freedom from religion.
John O Brien.
I see that yesterday a new party has been launched. It’s main aim is to convince the Irish voters that Ireland should leave the EU. With the Brexit shambles happening in the UK it will be hard to convince the Irish people that they should leave the EU. Also polls show that the majority of Irish people are pro EU. Ireland is a strong supporter of the EU project. This new party will have a hard job if it wants to succeed.
John O Brien.
Having finished the manuscript for my first book Christianity and social democracy is a great achievement. Now I am looking for a proofreader to ensure that it is ready for publishing. I believe I have something new to say to the world. I believe that a gap exists in relation to the media landscape in Ireland too. I have found that as well as writing skills I had to learn business and social media skills. I will update you when the next stage of my writing journey happens.
John Ó Brien.
There has been talk in the media recently about a possible merger between Fianna Fail and the SDLP. But such a proposed merger wouldn’t be as simple as it seems at first glance. The SDLP or the social democratic and labour party to gives it it’s full name is a social democratic party. The SDLP takes the Labour wip in the House of Commons in London. The SDLP has fraternal ties with the Irish Labour Party.
Fianna Fail was linked with conservative groups in the European Parliament. Now it is a member of the Liberal grouping in the European Parliament. If Fianna Fail and the SDLP were to merge which grouping would it join in the European Parliament? Would a new merged party join the Liberal or the Social Democratic group in the European Parliament? If they join the Social Democratic group then Fianna Fail would show itself as a party that believes in nothing. If they join the Liberal group then social democratic voters in the North would be without a voice. The Irish Labour Party should consider organising in the North with the help of the British Labour Party.
A proposed merger between a social democratic party and a liberal party isn’t as easy as the headlines would suggest.
Politics can be a passionate area of life. We all have our different views and debate can be heated at times. People of other views are people too. They hold these views because they believe that their views will lead to a better life. We may disagree with their views. But when politics descends into personal attack then politics gets ugly. The problems of society doesn’t get resolved.
We need to treat others with compassion. We don’t have all the answers of life. Political debates about how we organise society helps our democracy. We need to treat others with respect. We all all human and our democracy would improve if we treat our opponents with respect.
John O Brien.
Life should be about bread and roses. We need bread to live but life must be about more than bread. We need sunshine in life too. We need roses and music and dance etc. Life should bring joy and hope to people’s hearts.
This year we had the 2nd arts festival in Mallow. The arts festival in Mallow helps the local economy. It also brings the arts to the people of Mallow. Mallow is the crossroads of Munster. The arts festival shows that the community spirit in Mallow is alive and well.
I hope that the arts festival in Mallow will become a regular feature in the future. Anyone who is interested in the arts will I hope look to Mallow as part of the national cultural circuit.
John O Brien.
In the past social housing was considered a problem that could be solved by practical solutions. Both left and right resolved the housing crisis by building social housing. Recently some people believe that distorting the private market will provide housing for all. This policy has failed. People are buying and renting at prices that they can’t afford to pay. This is putting pressure on the cost of living and on wage rates. I must say that government policy and the inaction of Fine Gael is bringing misery to people. The attitude of Fine Gael today in relation to housing goes against what they did in the past. In the past Fine Gael build social housing with the Labour Party.
If neoliberalism means there are working people who are homeless give me classical liberalism any day. We have a housing crisis and this issue needs to be near the top of the political agenda.
John O Brien.