Karl Sigfrid has sent me the following information on how to make a complaint to the European Commission.
I would encourage everybody who’s concerned about this disgraceful law to make a formal complaint and not leave it in the hands of a Swedish MP to rescue us from the stupidity of the boneheads we call a government in Ireland.
You can send your complaint in an email to SG-PLAINTES@ec.europa.eu
Alternatively, you can post a letter of complaint to this address:
Commission des Communautés européennes
This is what Karl said in his complaint, but to avoid making it look like a chain letter, please express yourself as you feel about the matter. You could always quote his words and say that you would like the Commission to treat your email as a formal complaint fully in agreement with the concerns expressed by Karl Sigfrid.
Be sure to put your full details in the complaint. Give your correct name, full address and particulars of citizenship.
To the European Commission
I want to bring to the attention of the EU Commission the legislation against blasphemy that went into effect on Ireland on July 23. According to the new legislation, a citizen of the European Union can be punished for making a comment that is determined to be offensive to a substantial number of followers of a religion. The punishment consists of a 25 000-euro fine.
Article 6.1 in the current EU treaty establishes that the union “is founded on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law, principles which are common to the Member States.”
One human right that is intimately connected to both freedom and democracy is the right to free speech. The European Convention on Human Rights, article 10, describes free speech as follows:
“Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.”
There is no obvious reason why free speech should not include the right to characterize religious views or symbols in a way that some might find offensive.
For the reasons stated above, I ask the EU Commission to examine whether the Irish legislation against blasphemy is consistent with the EU treaties.
Now. What about that?
Get to work!
This is what I said in my own letter of complaint:
I am an Irish citizen, and I am deeply concerned about recent legislation passed by my government. The Defamation Act makes it a crime to offend a substantial number of adherents to any religion. This means that if I express my sincerely-held atheistic beliefs, I am at risk of being prosecuted and fined up to €25,000.
I believe this is in conflict with Article 6.1 of the present EU Treaty which recognises fundamental freedoms. This law attacks my fundamental freedom to hold views contrary to the beliefs of any religion and to sincerely express those views without fear of oppression.
This law, in my opinion, makes it possible to oppress people for expressing criticism of religions.
The European Convention on Human Rights, states as follows: Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.
The Defamation Act is an interference by public authority in my freedom to impart ideas and is therefore, in my opinion, incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.
I am asking the EU Commission to treat this as a formal complaint and to consider whether the Defamation Act is in conflict with current EU Treaties.