Hate speech retreat shows no political mileage in being ‘right-on’ anymore

In this post-referendum meltdown, Simon Harris needs a Sir Humphrey to buy time until the general election on the Hate Speech bill

Simon Harris and Helen McEntee: political rumours indicate that there will soon be a new minister for justice. Picture: PA

Not since water charges have we seen the political establishment in such full-on retreat mode as they are now over what has become known as the Hate Speech Bill.

The passing of the Criminal Justice (Incitement to Violence or Hatred and Hate offences) Bill through the Dáil had drawn huge majority support, with opposition largely confined to the hard left and a few socially conservative rural TDs.

But that was then, this is the post-referendum ...