Stephen Fry investigated by the Irish police for alleged blasphemy

The police in Ireland are investigating a complaint of blasphemy in relation to the comments made by Stephen Fry in a tv program which is shown on Ireland’s state broadcaster, RTÉ.

Garda (police) in Dublin, have made contact with the man who reported the complaint, after a program in February 2015, and a full investigation is due to be carried out, the Irish Independent reported.

Under Ireland’s Defamation Act 2009 to a person who publishes or utters blasphemous material “shall be guilty of an offence”. A conviction can carry a fine of up to € 25,000.

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While being interviewed on the Meaning of Life, program of TELEVISION, Fry was asked what he would say to God if he had a chance.

“I would say ‘Bone cancer in children, what is that?’ How dare you create a world in which there is such misery that is not our fault,” Fry replied. “It is not correct. It is absolutely, absolutely wrong. Why should I respect a capricious, mean minded, stupid god who creates a world full of injustice and pain?”

Fry said that if he met the Greek gods would accept more quickly, because, “not present themselves as being all-seeing, all-wise, all-beneficent.”

“Because the god who created this universe, if it was created by God, is clearly a madman, a true maniac, totally selfish. We have to spend our lives on our knees giving thanks to god. What kind of god would he do that?”

A clip of the interview on YouTube has been viewed more than seven million times.

A member of the public, who asked not to be identified, said he made the complaint against Fry more than two years ago in Ennis garda station in County Clare.

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“I told the garda he wanted to report Fry for uttering a blasphemy and RTÉ for the publication/broadcast, and that I believed that these were criminal offences under the Defamation Act 2009.

“The garda then took a formal written statement from me in which I have quoted Fry’s comments in detail. This written statement mentioned in both Fry and RTÉ specifically.”

He said that he was asked by a garda if he had been offended by the program and, if you wanted to include in the written statement.

“I said to the garda, which I did not want to include this as I had not personally been offended by Fry’s comments – I added that I just thought that the comments made by the Fry on RTÉ were criminals of blasphemy and that I was doing my civic duty by reporting a crime.”

After hearing nothing for 18 months, the author wrote to the head of the Irish police, Commissioner Noirín O’sullivan, “asking whether the crime was reported to me that he was being followed. A couple of weeks later I received a standard “we received your letter” of the secretary.”

But recently, the man was contacted by a detective from Donnybrook garda station in Dublin (the same suburb where RTÉ has its headquarters) to say that they were looking for in the blasphemy complaint. “He said he might have to meet me to take a new more detailed statement.”

At the time of the first issuance, Fry spoke on the topic on the BBC Radio 4 programme Today. “I was astonished that it caused an explosion viral on Twitter and in other places. I am more than happy to have people to talk to,” he said.

“I was just saying things that many finer heads than mine have said for hundreds of years, as far as the Greeks … I’ve never wanted to offend anybody who is individually devout or pious, and indeed many Christians have been in touch with me to say that they are very happy that things should be talked about.”

The host of the the Meaning Of The Life of the program, Gay Byrne, said that “of course [Fry] hadn’t wished to offend. But that is what the internet is for, the controversy, the debate and the opinions of the people.”