Travellers and Roma were part of a handover of 15,000 signatures to Justice Minister Helen McEntee today calling for effective hate crime laws to be introduced as soon as possible.

In the week when hate speech against Roma and Roma genocide during the holocaust was heavily criticised, Pavee Point’s Roma Programme Worker Vanessa Paszkowska spoke up for the need for the law to recognise that some crimes against ethnic minorities can be motivated by hate and discrimination.

Vanessa Paszkowska (centre) with community reps and politicians at the petition handover.

Geraldine McDonnell of Pavee Point’s Mental Health Initiative helped highlight that Travellers can also be the victims of crime motivated by racism and that this aspect of crimes needs to be acknowledged in law.

Geraldine McDonnell delivers petition to TDs and Senators to be handed over to Justice Minister, Helen McEntee, TD.

The Dept of Justice is due to introduce hate crime and hate speech legislation later this year. Pavee Point has been part of consultations on this legislation with the Coalition Against Hate Crime and the Irish Network Against Racism along with wider measures such as a National Action Plan Against Racism.

Geraldine McDonnell