Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Equality Fiona O’Loughlin TD says the Oireachtas needs to be proactive in helping to prevent the occurrence of hate crimes.

Deputy O’Loughlin made the comments in advance of an Oireachtas briefing between elected representatives and the National Steering Group Against Hate Crime. Deputy O’Loughlin has organised the briefing to help raise awareness of the occurrence of hate crimes in Ireland and the need to legislate against it.

“Those involved in representing minority communities have been highlighting concerns in recent years over the rise in the number of hate crimes occurring in Ireland. A hate crime occurs when a person commits a crime because they are motivated by hatred of the personal characteristics of the victim. Currently Ireland does not have any legislation in place to deal with this problem,” explained Deputy O’Loughlin.

“Last year I brought forward the ‘Criminal Justice *Aggravation by Prejudice) Bill’ with the view to addressing this anomaly. Hate crime legislation is already in place in Scotland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales. Ireland is behind the curve on this issue as we do not have any specific hate crime laws. I firmly believe that such legislation is needed and the Oireachtas must act in tackling the scourge of hate crime.

“As part of National Week of Action Against Hate Crime I have organised an Oireachtas briefing to highlight the need for legislation to deal with hate crimes. This briefing will be addressed by members of various minority communities who are subject to hate crimes. It’s an opportunity for TD’s and Senators to hear first-hand the detrimental impact that hate crimes can have on people’s lives. I hope it will lead to the emergence of a cross-party consensus on the need to deal with this issue,” concluded Deputy O’Loughlin.