‘Complications’ in pardoning some convicted of homosexuality offences

Taoiseach plans ‘to recognise wrongs done’ on 25th anniversary of decriminalisation

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the Government were working on a motion that he hoped all parties would agree to to ‘recognise the wrongs that were done’. File photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the Government were working on a motion that he hoped all parties would agree to to ‘recognise the wrongs that were done’. File photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

 

The Government will introduce an all-party motion to pardon those convicted for homosexuality prior to its decriminalisation 25 years ago on June 24th.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said they were working on a motion that he hoped all parties would agree to to “recognise the wrongs that were done”.

But he told Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin “there is a complication in that it is not always possible to distinguish one conviction from another.

“In some cases, the convictions involve minors and it is not necessarily possible in all cases to distinguish whether the offence involved a minor, a point that makes things a little trickier in Ireland.”

Mr Martin said these convictions date “back not to a latter era but to the mid-1970s, when up to 50 people were prosecuted”.

He pointed out that in the UK“Turing’s law was passed to pardon all those who were convicted before decriminalisation was introduced. I am aware that the Northern Assembly passed a motion calling for a pardon,” and he asked if the Government planned similar action.

“As we all know, for far too many decades members of the LGBT community were wrongly discriminated against and many were convicted on charges of being gay.”

The Fianna Fáil leader reminded the Dáil that legislation to decriminalise homosexuality was introduced by former minister for justice Maire Geoghegan-Quinn in 1992.

Mr Varadkar said the Government also planned an event to commemorate the anniversary of decriminalisation.

“I would like to reach out to Maire Geoghegan-Quinn and ask her to take part in that because she was the line Minister who brought in the reform at the time and she deserves credit for it.”

He also said the Government planned an all-party motion. He said Labour Senator Ged Nash was leading on this in the Seanad, along with Fine Gael Seanad leader Jerry Buttimer and others.