Failure to reform hate-speech laws

 

Sir, – Your Editorial (December 6th) remarked on the criticism of the Irish Government by the UN anti-racism Committee (CERD) over the failure to reform the ineffective Incitement of Hatred Act.

CERD is not the only body to have raised this issue. In its report on a visit to Ireland published in July last, the Council of Europe’s Commission Against Racism (ECRI) also focused on the issue of hate speech and hate crime as one of its key concerns.

Ireland now lags seriously behind many other European countries because of its lack of effective hate speech and hate crime legislation. ECRI recommended new and much stronger laws against hate speech and called for hate motivation to be made an aggravating factor in relation to other crimes. It required a report from the Government within two years on what action it had taken on these issues.

Events since then in relation to opposition to accommodation for asylum seekers and during the recent byelections have underlined the urgent need for such legislation. – Yours, etc,

MICHAEL FARRELL,

Member, European

Commission Against

Racism and Intolerance,

Blackrock,

Co Dublin.