Government Being Urged To Legislate For Hate Crimes

Ireland is "seriously deficient" in addressing hate crime, it's been revealed in a worrying new report.

The report recommends changes to legislation on incitement to hatred and sentencing, new procedures for investigating hate crimes and better mechanisms for reporting and recording of hate-motivated crimes.

The findings were made in a report entitled 'Lifecycle of a Hate Crime: Country Report for Ireland', which was published yesterday by the Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.

The report has prompted Labour LGBT to reiterate its call for the introduction of hate crime legislation.

Commenting on the new report, Co-Chair of Labour LBGT Aoife Leahy said that “it’s not entirely surprising but nonetheless deeply disappointing", adding that "it's deeply concerning that transgender people are a particular target".

Aoife added: “For many years Labour LGBT has been calling for legislation to address hate crimes in Ireland, and we stand strongly with the Irish Council for Civil Liberties on this.

“Directing intentional harm upon members of the LGBT community and other minorities is an extremely serious matter and should be treated as such.

“We have come so far in Ireland in recent years with the introduction of Marriage Equality, the Gender Recognition Act and the decisive vote of the people to repeal the Eighth Amendment.

"It’s not too much to ask for that those who inflict harm on minorities be held to account and we are asking the government to set about drafting this legislation immediately.”

Fianna Fáil TD for Equality, Immigration and Integration Fiona O’Loughlin TD has welcomed the publication of a report by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission on hate crime.

Deputy O’Loughlin said, “The details and recommendations contained in this report don’t come as any surprise to me.

"I have been highlighting the need for new laws to tackle hate crimes for some time now and have put forward proposals to achieve this.

"Similar legislation is already in place in Scotland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales. Ireland is behind the curve on this issue as a result of Government inaction.

Deputy O’Loughlin also said: “Minister Flanagan has stated that he will examine the contents of this report and will bring forward proposals to deal with hate crimes. However his record to date on this issue has been abysmal and he has ignored the proposals put forward by Fianna Fáil to tackle hate crimes.

"The ‘Criminal Justice (Aggravation by Prejudice) Bill’ that I brought before the Dáil seeks to legislate for hate crimes. It received cross party support yet the Government has been dragging its feet on allowing the Bill to progress through the Oireachtas.

“Minister Flanagan should be upfront with people and acknowledge that he has frustrated efforts to legislate against hate crimes. His recent statement makes it seem as if this is an issue that has only just come to his attention. That is far from the truth.

"I have been raising this issue with him and his predecessor for 18 months now. Despite this the Government has failed to show any leadership on this issue,” concluded Deputy O’Loughlin.


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