Jim O’Callaghan: Hate Speech law is deeply problematic and confusing for our courts and Gardai

The hate crime bill could end up criminalising people because of ill-considered abusive comments made at the time of an offence, when in fact hatred did not motivate their offence; also the ‘other genders’ part of the bill needs revisiting

Jim O’Callaghan, Fianna Fáil TD: there are aspects of the new hate crime bill that should be carefully reviewed by the Minister for Justice as they are problematic and would benefit from amendment in the Seanad.

The primary purpose of the new hate crime bill is to update 1989 the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act and to transpose an EU Council decision on the matter. It also seeks to provide for aggravated penalties for those who are convicted of certain offences where those offences have been aggravated by hatred.

Although it is appropriate to update any legislation that has been on our statute books for more than 30 years, there ...