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Police drop Stephen Fry blasphemy investigation

PUBLISHED: 10:29 09 May 2017 | UPDATED: 10:29 09 May 2017

Stephen Fry. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Stephen Fry. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2015

Police in Ireland have dropped an investigation into alleged blasphemous comments made by Stephen Fry.

The Norfolk-based writer, comedian, actor and presenter was the subject of the unusual investigation after a member of the public made a complaint to police over comments he made about God during an interview with Irish broadcaster RTE in February 2015.

In the interview, Mr Fry described God as “capricious”, “mean-minded”, “stupid” and an “utter maniac.”

The comments were widely reported but did not become a legal matter until a man complained last year, prompting a police inquiry.

Under Irish law, it is illegal to use words that are “grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters sacred to any religion, thereby intentionally causing outrage among a substantial number of adherents of that religion.”

After initial inquiries, officers decided that not enough people had been outraged by Mr Fry’s remarks to warrant further investigation, according to the Irish Independent.

A source told the paper: “This man was simply a witness and not an injured party. Gardaí (Irish police) were unable to find a substantial number of outraged people.

“For this reason the investigation has been concluded.”

Asked in 2015 by the programme’s host, Gay Byrne, what he would say to God if he arrived in heaven, Mr Fry replied: “I’d say, bone cancer in children? What’s that about?”

“How dare you? How dare you create a world to which there is such misery that is not our fault? It’s not right, it’s utterly, utterly evil.

“Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid god who creates a world that is so full of injustice and pain?

“We have to spend our life on our knees thanking him? What kind of god would do that?

“The god who created this universe, if it was created by god, is quite clearly a maniac, an utter maniac, totally selfish.”

The revelation has reopened the debate surrounding Ireland’s blasphemy legislation.

Health minister Simon Harris said a referendum should be held to change the constitution’s stance of blasphemy.

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