About the author: Dr. Neville Cox is a graduate and former scholar of Trinity College Dublin law school where he is now a lecturer. He teaches and publishes in the areas of Comparative Law, Sports Law and Defamation law.2000 0-7734-7592-3
This study considers the fundamental question as to whether it is legitimate for a democratic state which recognizes a right to free speech to restrict that right in order to prevent the publication of material which is blasphemous, in the sense of being insulting to God, and hence either harmful to the social order or else offensive to the listening religious devotee. Analysis is centered on the law of the Irish Republic whose Constitution specifically criminalizes the act of public blasphemy. The study analyzes the nature of this crime and the impact on it of its English counterpart. It asks whether there is any justification for the retention of such a law and if so, the form it should take.