Pavee Point Traveller and  Roma Centre welcomes today’s launch, by the Department of Justice, of consultation findings in relation to hate crime and hate speech in Ireland and the announcement there will be new laws early next year.

“We have been saying for a long time that there is a need for new laws that acknowledge that hate crime and hate speech exist in Ireland and that hate speech can lead to hate crime,” said Martin Collins, Co Director Pavee Point Traveller & Roma Centre.

“Effective hate crime laws will send out a strong message that racism and discrimination can be a motivator for crime and that this is not acceptable in our society,” said Mr. Collins.

It is very important that the Government  acknowledged today that current legislation on hate speech is not fit for purpose and is proposing to abandon the 1989 Incitement to Hatred Act and draw up new legislation.  

“Ethnic minorities and other groups need protection under the law and we need this protection to be meaningful and effective,” said Mr. Collins.

Recent reports show massive under –reporting of hate speech and hate crime and new legislation will help make this hidden reality much more visible and something we can deal with as a society,” added Mr. Collins. 

“We urge the Government to combine new legislation with mandatory training for all in the criminal justice system and to also launch a public awareness campaign on hate speech and hate crime.

“We need society to be aware of the damage that hate speech does.” 

“Hate speech is one of the most egregious and insidious forms of racism evident in rights denial – verbally and in all forms of media globally,” said Pavee Point Chairperson Anastasia Crickley, ex chairperson of UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).

“It is recognised as such in General Recommendation 35 of UN CERD which points also to the power of the speaker and the reach of the speech.

“I hope an Irish response, now outlined in the welcome report of the Consultation published this morning will follow shortly.”