Ireland to introduce new hate crime legislation
The legislation will be the first of its kind in the Republic.
For the first time in the history of the State committing a hate crime based on the colour of a person’s skin, sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity is set to become a criminal offence.
Other protected characteristics include nationality, religion, ethnic origin and any disability.
The new offences are set to be provided for under the Criminal Justice or Hate Crime Bill of 2021.
Assault, coercion, harassment, criminal damage, and threats to kill are already criminal offences but the Government is now planning to introduce more severe sentences for instances deemed as hate crimes.
Displaying intent to incite hatred in a public place, including on social media, will now carry a prison sentence of up to six months on conviction.
However, very specific “intent or recklessness” criteria have to be met before a conviction can be brought.
This bill will be updated from the 1989 Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act against hate speech which does not include protection of gender, disability, or Traveller ethnicity.
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said in a statement: “These crimes are motivated by prejudice. They make victims feel afraid for their future, their friends, and their families.
"They lead to a divided society, where whole communities can feel unsafe and angry, perpetrators will know that we are determined to stamp out prejudice and hate.”