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.

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.

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.

“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.