Hate crime Bill is timely and necessary

A clear commitment to a wider holistic approach to tackling prejudice

Sir, – The article “Hate crime Bill may worsen things for minorities, departing Garda diversity chief says” (News, May 22nd) suggests that minority community leaders are not in support of the introduction of hate crime legislation. As members of the Coalition Against Hate Crime, comprising over 20 civil society organisations representing groups commonly targeted by hate crime in Ireland, we are united and strong in saying that our communities are overwhelmingly in support of the introduction of long-overdue legislation and wider change in the way hate is tackled. These include Roma, Travellers, LGBTI+ people, disabled people, migrants and refugees. Other than communities, the vast majority of the population recognises hate crime as a high priority in policing.

Hate crimes are message crimes: they tell members of minority communities they are not safe.

A single action goes beyond the individual person targeted, hurting entire communities and society as a whole. Ireland has been unequipped and unable to address hate crime at a criminal justice level and beyond for way too long: research by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties has shown that in the absence of legislation, the hate element – which makes a crime a hate crime – not only is not addressed in a consistent way but it often disappears in the criminal process. Legislation will make the invisible visible and recognise the additional harm caused by a crime that targets a person’s inherent identity, sending a clear message that such behaviour will not be tolerated in our society.

We are living in a rising climate of intolerance towards minorities both offline and online and in this context, a spike in Garda-recorded hate crime and incidents (29 per cent higher in 2022) does not come as a surprise and it is only the tip of the iceberg as underreporting is recognised by An Garda Síochána itself and backed up by the Irish Network Against Racism data on racist hate crime. Saying that people are “happy the way things are in Ireland” does not reflect the views and experiences of our communities and undermines the need for urgent action to ensure Ireland is a country where everyone feels safe and welcome.


Hate crimes have deep roots in our society. As we are finally enacting long-overdue legislation, we need a clear commitment to a wider holistic approach to tackle prejudice, including where systemic, within Irish society. – Yours, etc,


Senior Policy Officer

– Equality and Hate Crime,

Irish Council

for Civil Liberties,

on behalf of

The Coalition Against

Hate Crime Ireland,

Age Action Ireland,

Belong To,


Dublin LGBTQ+ Pride,

Immigrant Council

of Ireland,

Inclusion Ireland,

Independent Living

Movement Ireland,

Intersex Ireland,

International Council

of International Students,

Irish Council

for Civil Liberties,

Irish Network

Against Racism,

Irish Traveller Movement,

LGBT Ireland,

LGBT Travellers,

Nasc – Migrant and Refugee Rights Centre,

National LGBT Federation,

National Traveller

Women’s Forum,

National Women’s Council,

National Youth Council

of Ireland,

Outhouse LGBTQ+ Centre,

Pavee Point

Traveller & Roma Centre,

Sports Against

Racism Ireland,

Transgender Equality

Network Ireland.