Tastefully included in the 2020 Programme for Government and subject to a year-long ‘consultation process’ with various interest groups, the public now has a firm grasp of expected hate speech legislation expected within the next 3 months.

In a media-parroted press release this morning, the Department of Justice finalised proceedings for the ‘Incitement to Violence or Hatred and Hate Offences Bill 2022’, or hate speech legislation to you and me.

While the rough draft of the Bill has been known since April of last year, the Department has added a demonstration and motivation test which in their words means simply that a perpetrator demonstrates hatred towards a member of a protected group/characteristic at the time of an offence being committed. This might involve, for example, the use of hostile or prejudiced slurs, gestures, other symbols or graffiti at the time of offending”

In essence giving more rope to prosecutors.

To recap the key points in the Bill:

  • Communications deemed ‘perceived’ hateful on any medium to those of a ‘protected characteristic’ may merit up to 5 years imprisonment on conviction or up to 12 months on summary conviction.
  • Those just disseminating hateful content could face up to 2 years in prison.
  • Special exclusions exist for artistic, political and academic speech, as well as utterances made in the Oireachtas if it meets authorities’ definition of a ‘reasonable contribution’. 
  • Those convicted are liable to be branded as a ‘hate criminal’ in future legal proceedings as well as Garda vetting.
  • A useful stick to beat tech companies, corporations are redeemed from prosecution for platforming hate speech only if they have ‘in place reasonable and effective measures to prevent dissemination of communications inciting hatred’
  • Irrespective of whether the alleged hate speech actually incites violence or discrimination, an individual may be prosecuted or even if they were in the state or information hosted outside of the state.
  • No doubt influenced by ‘transphobic rhetoric’ on the airwaves, gender identity is now included in the final draft.
  • Membership of ‘an organised hate group’ can be counted as evidence in any hate related crime as well as a victim’s ethnicity and past statements by the defendant.
  • Holocaust denial will carry up to 12 months prison time as will denial of any UN recognised genocide.

Needing to cross the hurdle of both Houses of the Oireachtas before reaching the President’s desk, the Department states its intent is to have it cleared come January 2023.

That leaves two months to arrange some sort of response, token or otherwise, against the Bill which so far has received cross partisan support. While the Enoch Burke saga is providing the ruling regime and Mountjoy jailors alike with a PR headache, one can expect more hate speech martyrs in the coming years if this legislation passes.

Failing all jamming up, the reporting process and causing as much havoc for officials as possible is the next possible strategy. The Irish State has ambitions to replicate the judicial hellscape that is the United Kingdom when it comes to hate speech prosecutions, but with only a fraction of the resources.

The absence of reasonable voices at an elected level means any successful fight against the Bill has long since expired. What can and must be done is an awareness campaign to startle the public into the extremity of the law as well as coordinated attempts at frustrating it when it comes in.

Expect the guardians of the peace to pursue low hanging fruit at first, but rest assured in the understanding this legislation is meant for all our jugulars.

Posted by Ciaran Brennan

4 Comments

  1. Daniel Buckley 28/10/2022 at 12:51 am

    You know you live in a Tyranny ,when Free Speech is regulated by the Regime.
    The Justice system has been weaponised against the People.

    Reply

  2. Ivaus@thetricolour 28/10/2022 at 4:33 am

    It’s not difficult to gauge the mindset of those involved in this legislation,
    It reeks and oozes of vile, contempt and hate from a cesspool of deranged individuals that occupy a space not known to normalized human beings.
    The likes of McNutty and her fellow aliens would not be invited to Our
    Home,sit at Our Table or enjoy Our Hospitality because of the malicious presence they invoke…and as key points in the bill illustrate,one WILL still be prosecuted,labeled for life,in or out of State,REGARDLESS of
    Incitement to violence or discrimination being committed.! absolute 100% fu.king hogwash. REDS HAVE ENTERED THE BUILDING.

    The inclusion of ” Holocaust Denial ” has already netted a number of
    Irish/Foreign historians,who like to use terms like Big Hunger or Famine
    and GOD forbid that anybody would be in Denial of U N Recognized
    Genocide,it speaks for itself…all documented despite denials.
    So now we have a new global sheriff,a combination of Ireland/UN- iRUN
    and Cead Mile Failte ( 100,000 Welcomes ) has been replaced by the #1
    100,000 whisperers…shhh,keep it quiet I can hear you thinking, Shh now!

    Reply

  3. So how do I contribute to trying to stop this, or roll it back???

    Reply

    1. Yes exactly Loby, what are we to do apart from contacting Dail & Seannad members but they’re ALL on board the Orwellian wagon, are there any assemblies or protests planned?

      Reply

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