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 They have cited that its to-be predecessor, the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act 1989, is obsolete because it has only led to a few dozen convictions in its lifetime.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.