Press Releases

Press release from The Iona Institute

Incitement to hatred complaint against bishop "absurd"

January 30, 2012 - The incitement to hatred complaint made against Bishop Philip Boyce is "absurd, frivolous, hypocritical and an attack on free speech", The Iona Institute has said today.

According to a report in today's Sunday Independent, the Gardai have forwarded a file to the DPP after they received a complaint that Bishop Philip Boyce had broken the Incitement to Hatred Act by remarks he made last August in the course of a homily delivered at Knock Shrine.

Bishop Boyce described how the Church was being "attacked from outside by the arrows of a godless culture".

The complaint was made by a former leader of the Campaign to Separate Church and State.

Commenting on the development, Iona Institute director, David Quinn, said today: "This complaint is absurd, frivolous, hypocritical and an attack on free speech.  It is deeply ironic that it is coming from someone who led an organisation that is supposed to be in favour of free speech, not least in its opposition to blasphemy laws.

"Nothing in Bishop Boyce's remarks can be remotely construed as hate speech. If he is guilty of hate speech, then a very great deal of normal robust political criticism, whether directed at bankers, political opponents, property developers and so on would have to fall foul of the Incitement to Hatred Act as well.

"This complaint should never have been taken and a file should never have been sent to the DPP. If Bishop Boyce is somehow found guilty then the Incitement to Hatred Act will have to be amended."