The Legal Effect
The proposed change
Article 40.6.1˚ of the Constitution says: The State guarantees liberty for the exercise of the following rights, subject to public order and morality:-
The right of the citizens to express freely their convictions and opinions. The education of public opinion being, however, a matter of such grave import to the common good, the State shall endeavour to ensure that organs of public opinion, such as the radio, the press, the cinema, while preserving their rightful liberty of expression, including criticism of Government policy, shall not be used to undermine public order or morality or the authority of the State.
The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law.
The proposal in the referendum is to remove 'blasphemous,' from the above text.
The legal effect of a YES vote
If a majority votes Yes, then the Constitution will no longer require that publishing or saying something blasphemous is a criminal offence. A Yes vote would therefore allow the Oireachtas to change the law so that blasphemy is no longer a criminal offence.
The legal effect of a NO vote
If a majority votes No, then the present Article 40.6.1˚ will remain unchanged. The Constitution would therefore continue to require that publishing or saying something blasphemous is a criminal offence