Hate crime legislation must take priority in next Govt – O’Loughlin

Published on: 09 June 2020

Fianna Fáil Senator Fiona O’Loughlin has said legislation to combat hate crime must be prioritised by the next Government.

Senator O’Loughlin, who introduced the Criminal Justice (Aggravation by Prejudice) Bill in Dáil Éireann in 2016, said it was not good enough that Ireland is one of the last countries in the Western world to legislate in this area.

She said, “While the issue of racism has been to the fore in recent weeks, we know it has always been present in Irish society and to say otherwise is to ignore the plight of those it is perpetrated against.

“The fact that we do not have progressive and stringent hate crime legislation in our legal system is not reflective of the reality of life in 2020 Ireland.

“We are out of step in not having specific hate crime laws and we are leaving vulnerable groups, such as those from ethnic minorities, members of the LGBT community, or the travelling community, without proper protections.

“Whereas some of our European counterparts are attempting to erode progressive anti-discrimination laws and introduce inequality into their societies, Ireland can and should take the lead in showing zero tolerance to hate crime.

“I will be reintroducing this legislation in the Seanad and I hope to receive cross party support for it,” she concluded.