Four parties commit to introducing hate crime legislation ahead of election

Four of Ireland’s political parties have committed to introducing hate crime legislation if they get into government. The Green Party, People Before Profit, Sinn Féin, and the Social Democrats have all pledged to make the changes. 

Reforms

The commitment is part of a list of 8 asks put forward by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL). It said that it “identified 8 crucial but straightforward reforms which would have immediate, real-life impact”.

This includes getting rid of the controversial Public Services Card, introducing “Safe Access Zones” outside of hospitals so women can make use of abortion services, establishing an Ombudsman for Victims of Crimes, and the introduction of hate crime legislation, amongst others. 

And at a press conference in Dublin on 4 February, the ICCL revealed that the four parties had made the commitment.

Hate crime

According to the ICCL, no laws exist in Ireland “to deal with attacks motivated by hatred”. Given what it called “a worrying rise in racism in Ireland”, it called for the strengthening of “laws and policies” in order “to sanction and help prevent hate crime and to provide justice for those who are victim to it”. 

In a press release to mark the pledge made by the parties, ICCL Executive Director Liam Herrick said he welcomed the move. He declared:

We warmly welcome the strong pledges by so many of our major parties to implement these important human rights commitments. Each of these 8 human rights asks will make a significant impact for the electorate and can be delivered within a short period.

Herrick went on to say that the “pledges are an important step” but that enacting them is “crucial”. 

The ICCL has previously called for more to be done to tackle the rise of online hate speech. 

Featured image via ICCL