Comedian and author Stephen Fry found himself the subject of a short Garda investigation following comments he made on an RTÉ show.[/caption]There seemed to be a genuine lack of interest in this referendum, with some arguing that the referendum was a waste of money given the offence's effective irrelevance. This was reflected in the voter turnout on 26th October, with only 43.87 percent of the electorate voting. Despite this, Amnesty International and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties campaigned for "Yes" votes while churches across the country were describing the provisions as largely obsolete.
Colm O'Gorman argued that the result may prevent states, like Pakistan, that pointed to Ireland's blasphemy article to justify their own from continuing this obfuscation.The amendment passed by a margin of 64.85 percent in favor of removing the mention of blasphemy against 35.15 percent opposed to removing it from the Constitution. Flanagan commented on the article's repeal that "... [we have] sent a message to the world... that laws against blasphemy do not reflect Irish values." Amnesty International stated that the result of the referendum is "... another important step towards a human-rights compliant Constitution." Colm O'Gorman argued that the result may prevent states, like Pakistan, that pointed to Ireland's blasphemy article to justify their own from continuing this obfuscation. Recently Pakistan's Supreme Court freed a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, from a death sentence for blasphemy against Islam. She had been on death row since 2010 for allegedly making derogatory remarks about Islam. There has been an outcry in Pakistan over this decision in which mobs threatened to lockdown the country while calling for the heads of the judges who decided this case. Despite blasphemy not being mentioned in the Constitution anymore, there is still the offence in the 2009 Act of "... publication or utterance of blasphemous matter..." against any religion. This Defamation Act can enforce a fine of up to €25,000 for blasphemy. There have been some concerns coming from bishops like Bishop Kenneth Kearon that Ireland did not replace the article with provisions protecting hate speech. The Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act 1989 does make it an offence to publish or distribute material that is threatening, abusive, or intended to incite hatred, though there have not been many cases that have been prosecuted using this legislation. Furthermore, religious freedom is already safeguarded under article 44.2.1 of the Constitution.