Hate Speech Bill Press Conference

Free Speech Ireland are hosting a Press Conference in Buswells Hotel this Thursday along with numerous Irish Senators opposed to the Hate Speech Bill. We invite all members of the press to attend.

Email us at if you wish to be on the guestlist.


Letter to the President Campaign

Paddy Holohan encouraged members of the public to send letters to Áras an Uachtaráin and post themselves doing it with the hashtag #lettertothepresident.

Paddy Holohan, an independent councillor for South Dublin County Council, has voiced concern with the government’s Hate Speech Bill, and has encouraged people, families, and communities to contact their local representatives to voice their opposition to legislation which is being passed without mandate.

The constitutionality of the legislation will be considered by President Michael D. Higgins, who should scrutinise the law with consideration for the provisions for freedom of expression laid out in Bunreacht na hÉireann. If he doubts it’s legality, he must send it to the Supreme Court to examine it. By sending letters to Áras an Uachtaráin, public pressure can be mounted against the legislation which threatens to restrict freedom of expression in Ireland for the sake of the Irish government’s political expediency.


Hate Speech Bill Deep Dive

A Free Speech Ireland Spokesperson joined The Jist for a deep-dive on the Hate Speech Bill and it’s historical context


Irish Hate Speech Bill Enters Public Debate

Since the beginning of its drafting process, the Irish government’s Criminal Justice (Incitement to Violence or Hatred and Hate Offences) Bill 2022 has been largely absent from public discourse, receiving scant media attention. With the legislation’s existence unknown to most Irish citizens, let alone the excessive restrictions it threatens to impose on freedom of expression in Ireland. 

Recently, however, following the legislation passing the final stage of Dáil Eireann’s drafting process, international and domestic attention has been focused on the government’s Hate Speech Bill. This media attention, likely a product of the amplification given by Elon Musk and Donald Trump Jr.’s commentary regarding the legislation on Twitter, has precipitated further debate as the Bill reaches the Seanad.

Receiving international attention, Dr. Jordan B. Peterson has also commented on the nature of hate speech legislation more broadly, linking Ireland’s nascent Hate Speech Bill to the broader context of cancel culture and the restriction of freedom of expression seen throughout the Western world in recent years. 

Subsequently, debate around free speech in Ireland has become more prominent. The recently appointed President of University College Dublin, Orla Feely, has recently commented on the necessity of free speech on college campuses, citing its necessity as a component of mature, democratic societies.

Liam Herrick, the executive director of the Irish Council of Civil Liberties has too, criticised aspects of the legislation, specifically article 10, which would criminalise the possession of content deemed to be hateful, irrespective as to the individual’s intention to distribute it or not. Concern from the left-wing political party People Before Profit has also been expressed regarding this troublesome clause, which TD Paul Murphy warned as effectively the introduction of thought crime into Irish law.

The disregard for public consultation the Irish government has maintained with its introduction of this legislation is worrisome, as in a late 2019 public survey conducted by the government in relation public reception of prospective hate speech legislation, 73% of respondents, voiced negativeopinions towards such a law.

Though the legislation has passed the Dáil, hopefully the recent growth in public awareness and criticism of the legislation will facilitate further amendments to the law in the Seanad. Senators Ronan Mullen and Sharon Keoghan have previously voiced their concerns with the legislation, and though the Seanad may not have the ability to veto this Hate Speech Bill, it may amend the law in such a way that its threat to freedom of expression in Ireland may be mitigated or reduced in some way.


The Hate Speech Bill: Final Dáil Stage

The final stage of the Bill in the lower house of the Oireachtas played out on Wednesday. The controversial legislation was published last October and will have dire ramifications for those who are deemed to have engaged in “reckless communication or behaviour that is likely to incite violence or hatred”.

Even if enacted without its greater powers, the Bill would have a “chilling effect”. However, many proponents of the Bill are adamant on its more draconian sections and clauses. They have cited that its to-be predecessor, the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act 1989, is obsolete because it has only led to a few dozen convictions in its lifetime.

Despite the importance of the Bill, government legislators weren’t exactly present in great number ..

The fifth and final stage of the Dáil is when final statements are made on a bill and the amendments made to it in earlier sections. The legislators had little to say that had not already been heard – all but People Before Profit’s Paul Murphy.

Subsequently, the unexpected champion of free speech introduced amendments to the house:

The latter amendment looked to remove Section 10 of the Bill, one of the more draconian sections. Despite these efforts, no changes were made to the Bill, and it has continued on the Seanad. In light of this, we encourage you to contact your local TD’s, who’s details can be found here, and to sign and share our petition.


On the Posie Parker “Let Women Speak” rally in Belfast

In the run-up to an event this weekend held by Kellie-Jay Keen, a.k.a. Posie Parker, a Gender-Critical Feminist and outspoken voice in the debate around Gender Idealogy, we are seeing many calls to violence and to otherwise “no-platform” the event, to prevent her from speaking.

Keen being escorted away after a mob cancelled her event last month in Auckland, New Zealand

We at Free Speech Ireland wish to condemn in the strongest terms calls for no platforming and the preventing of someone’s right to speak in public.

Gender Idealogy and Transgenderism is one of the most controversial issues in politics today, triggering strong emotions on all sides of the debate. In a free and civil society, the only way to resolve this is open debate in good faith.

Those radical activists attempting to no-platform and prevent her from speaking have no intention of engaging in good faith, believing it is impossible that they could be wrong. They are a tiny minority who are not representative of the average Irish person, who values tolerance and civility, and ones right to honestly disagree out of sincere belief.

All those who believe in open debate around difficult issues must oppose these attempts to silence opposing views in public.


Hate Speech Bill Enters 4th Stage

The Criminal Justice (Incitement to Violence or Hatred and Hate Offences) Bill 2022 has entered the 4th stage of the Oireachtas law-making process. This means that it is almost finished in the Dáil and will soon move on to the second house of the Oireachtas, the Seanad.

It does not seem as though any significant changes have been implemented throughout the past stages; the Bill still enables censorship based on gross speculation, and the provision for freedom of expression is perhaps the most poorly defined part of the Bill:

For the purposes of this Part, any material or behaviour is not taken to incite violence or hatred against a person or a group of persons on account of their protected characteristics or any of those characteristics solely on the basis that that material or behaviour includes or involves discussion or criticism of matters relating to a protected characteristic.

Section 11 – “Protection of freedom of expression”

In light of this, we encourage you to contact your local TD’s, who’s details can be found here, and to sign and share our petition.


Wicklow Campaign Launches

Following the mantle of Justice Minister transferring to Simon Harris from Helen McEntee, Free Speech Ireland launched an awareness campaign in Harris’ constituency, Wicklow.

FSI activists distributed leaflets in Greystones earlier today

The Justice Minister is the sponsor of the controversial Hate Speech Bill and as such holds primary responsibility for it. Answering a question in the Oireachtas, Harris had the following to say about the Bill:

Minister McEntee published the Criminal Justice (Incitement to Violence or Hatred and Hate Offences) Bill last October which addresses both incitement to hatred or violence and hate crime.

Once enacted the Bill will criminalise any intentional or reckless communication or behaviour that is likely to incite violence or hatred against a person or persons because they are associated with a protected characteristic, and will create new “hate crime” offences where specific offences are aggravated by hate of a protected characteristic.

While the Bill could have dire ramifications for freedom of expression, Wicklow constituents had not heard of it, or that Harris was its sponsor. The following leaflet was distributed to raise awareness:

front of leaflet
back of leaflet

Opposing the Hate Speech Bill: A Successful Evening

Thank you to all who attended our public meeting on Justice Minister Helen Mc Entee’s Hate Speech Bill Wednesday evening.

We filled out the hotel conference hall and ran out of standing space at the back!

Professor Gerard Casey and Mattie McGrath TD were our first two speakers.

Casey, a Philosophy academic, criticized the bill for its logical inconsistencies, while McGrath outlined how it may be used to censor political opposition.

Casey’s Speech: “You Cannot Legislate for Morality”
McGrath’s Speech: “A Bill to Shut Us Up!”

Irish Independent columnist Ian O’Doherty lamented how Cancel Culture ended the careers of many of his colleagues in Journalism.

He was followed by Senator Sharon Keogan who warned of the “chilling effect” a Hate Speech law would have.

Ed Shanahan, a barrister and law academic, explained the legal reprecussions of a Hate Speech law, and how it may just be the first in a “floatilla” of legislation designed to remove the rights of Irish people.

It was astoundingly successful evening, and hopefully the first of many such events we intend to host across the country.


Fine Gael TDs call for less Gardaí to do more

Fine Gael TDs Helen McEntee and Neil Richmond have each called for the already over-burdened Garda service to do more in different areas.

The goal set out for new students entering the Garda College in 2022 by the coalition government of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party was 800. Official figures, however, show that only 90 students entered the Garda College this year.

Minister McEntee often cites that her proposed Hate Speech Bill is necessary due to the fact that its predecessor, The Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act 1989, only secured 50 prosecutions in the more than 30 years since it was enacted. There is no doubt that her new bill casts a very wide net, with many in the Dáil criticising it last week on that very basis. It is not the increased number of prosecutions however that will be the greatest strain to Gardaí in this bill: Gardaí will now have to monitor both the streets for crimes, and the Internet for hate crimes.

While McEntee seeks to redirect limited Garda resources online, another Fine Gael TD, Neil Richmond, called for those same resources to be directed onto the streets:

It is unclear as to how Fine Gael plan on having the increasingly over-burdened service do more offline as well as online going into the future.