Blindboy Boatclub says Irish Blasphemy law is 'an embarrassment'


Anne Sheridan


Anne Sheridan

Blindboy Boatclub says Irish Blasphemy law is 'an embarrassment'

The Bandits: Blindboy Boatclub, left, has claimed that he is protected under artistic license from blasphemy laws

BLINDBOY Boatclub of The Rubberbandits has described Ireland’s blasphemy law as “an embarrassment.”

He outlined his support to scrap the crime of blasphemy following calls for reform in response to a garda investigation into comments made by British actor and comedian Stephen Fry.

“Countries such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have very strict blasphemy laws, where people go to jail and get stoned. They can say ‘well Ireland has a blasphemy law in its Constitution, and they’re supposed to be the civilised West.’ We have to stand up to that,” Blindboy told iRadio.

While some of the views Blindboy has himself aired on TV have been described as “blasphemous”, he said that as long as he wears a plastic bag on his head he’s “engaged in a continual act of artistic performance, so I can say what I like. It’s art.”

“At the end of the day, you’d have to be seriously offended by a man who thinks it’s right to wear a plastic bag on his head. Everybody has a right to be offended, that’s a healthy part of free speech.

“But people’s feelings of hurt doesn’t mean that they are right, and that’s where it becomes tricky. It’s legitimate if your feelings are hurt but that doesn’t give you a right to silence another person.”

Blindboy said there is “some very blasphemous stuff” in a new fictional book he is writing, which is due out before the end of the year. “However, I am protected under artistic freedom so I can do what I want.”

Addressing his appearance on The Late Late Show, where he referred to Communion wafers as “haunted bread”, he said “that’s literally what it is.”

RTE received more than 1,350 formal complaints after the broadcast on January 6 last. It said that a number had been referred to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) under the statutory complaints process.

During a discussion, Blindboy said that young people attending Midnight Mass at Christmas were “not going there for haunted bread”, adding that “everyone at Midnight Mass is half-cut anyway”.

In addition, he said that the Church was “asking us to eat the ghost of a 2,000-year-old carpenter”.

Fr Kevin McNamara, parish priest in Moyvane, north Kerry, was among those to file a complaint with the BAI in relation to the comments, which he described as “blasphemous”, and “downright shameful and hurtful”.

“If that priest is offended by me referring to it as haunted bread he actually becomes a Protestant, because the core of the Protestant faith is to reject that miracles happen,” Blindboy said.

“Protestants believe that it’s actually just a piece of bread, and the Christ stuff is merely symbolism. Catholics believe that you are actually eating the body of a 2,000 year-old carpenter," he added.