Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Equality Fiona O’Loughlin TD has accused the Government of dragging its feet on legislating for hate crimes.

The ‘Criminal Justice (Aggravation by Prejudice) Bill’ received cross party support and passed second stage in the Dáil in October 2016. The Bill went through pre-legislative scrutiny in May 2017 but has stalled since then due to Government inaction.

Deputy O’Loughlin said, “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.

“Fianna Fáil has been proactive on this issue and brought forward a Bill to provide for specific legislation criminalising hate crime. 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.

“The Bill I brought forward has received cross-party support in the Dáil. There is an onus on the Government to get its act together and stop dragging its feet on this issue. The delay in legislating for hate crimes is inexcusable and only serves to discourage people from reporting such crimes,” concluded Deputy O’Loughlin.