A blasphemy investigation into comments made by television star Stephen Fry has been dropped - because police could not find enough people offended.

The writer and presenter branded God an "utter maniac" who is "mean-minded and stupid" during an interview with Irish broadcaster RTE two years ago.

But Gardai sources have reportedly revealed they did not proceed with the investigation because there was no injured party.

Fry's comments were reported to the Gardai by a man who claimed to be doing his "civic duty", saying they breached the Defamation Act.

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A police source told the Irish Independent: "This man was simply a witness and not an injured party. Gardai were unable to find a substantial number of outraged people.
For this reason the investigation has been concluded."

The man who made the report told the newspaper he was happy the matter had been investigated, stating: "I did my civic duty in reporting it. The guards did their duty in investigating it. I am satisfied with the result and I don't want to comment further."

He said he had not personally been offended by Fry's remarks.

The case has put Irish blasphemy laws under scrutiny.

The country's Department of Justice has begun work on holding a referendum on the subject, the Irish Times reports.

Health minister Simon Harris branded the current law "silly, a little embarrassing and needs to be changed".

Current legislation makes it illegal to say or publish anything that is "grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters sacred by any religion".

To be a crime, it needs to cause outrage "among a substantial number of adherents of that religion".

The offence of blasphemy, included in the Defamation Act, is punishable by a fine of €25,000 ($39,000) under Irish law.

Fry's TV comments

The footage, which showed Fry quizzed by Irish TV presenter Gay Byrne, went viral after it was aired and has now been seen more than seven million times on YouTube.

Asked what he would say if he was confronted by God, Fry replied: "How dare you create a world in 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 which is so full of injustice and pain?"

Questioned on how he would react if he was locked outside the pearly gates, he responded: "I would say, 'Bone cancer in children? What's that about?'

"Because the God who created this universe, if it was created by God, is quite clearly a maniac, utter maniac.

"Totally selfish. We have to spend our life on our knees thanking him? What kind of God would do that?"