Livestream 5PM: Una McGurk, senior counsel talks Helen McEntee & Irish Hate Speech Bill

Irish Hate Speech Bill

Today, I speak with Una McGurk, senior counsel about the proposed Irish Hate speech legislation. Calls to scrap the the Criminal Justice (Incitement to Violence or Hatred and Hate Offences) bill have intensified since the March 8th referenda. Public opinion has shifted drastically against this latest government over-reach and which is crystallised by the response of some our political class who voted it in favour of it last year but now have done a big U-turn.

For example, Sinn Féin is now calling for the Bill to be abandoned despite the fact all of its TDs voted in favour of it in the Dáil. One of the original architects of the legislation, former Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has more or less done the same. FG TD Michael Ring, and Fianna Fáil TD and former Minister for Defence Willie O’Dea, have echoed the sentiments of Sinn Fein.

Yet, Minister Helen McEntee still persists in pushing forward with the legislation. This Bill is very much not dead in the water. I am delighted to have the opportunity to speak with Una McGurk, barrister and senior counsel since 2004, about the bill in detail and explore why it is still being pursued.

Indeed, as recently as this morning FF Senator Malcolm Byrne outlined his support for the Justice minister’s bill.

“This is not about preventing people saying horrible or awful things… this doesn’t do that, nor should it. It will protect those people who want to say horrible and awful things. However, there is a line that has to be drawn between strong opinions and particular views, and where you actually incite violence.”

Like McEntee, though, the good senator is not proposing to define hate in the legislation. So, significant support still exists within the houses of our Oireachtas to plough ahead with this most dangerous of legislation.
Credit to : The Scholar Gypsies

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