Hate speech and legislation

 

Sir, – I have no doubt that some in the Government have the best of intentions on this issue, while others may have different motives.

However, the cure in this instance will be worse than the disease.

State interference in the exercise of free speech, however we may object to what a person has to say, is a dangerous path to take.

Any attempt to legislate in the imprecise and subjective area of “offence” is destined to be hazy and contribute to injustice.

Over-regulation of our forums of expression will paralyse debate as people will be silenced for fear of penalisation under vague legislation.

Such censorship will open politicians and the State to more distrust and alienation from our own people and many will ask what the ulterior motives for its introduction are.

I saw it introduced to stop violent republicanism in the 1970s and 1980s and all it did was strengthen Sinn Féin.

We are living in an era of “cancel culture” and lots of people erroneously think that it is their right not to be offended.

This proposal will add to this, silencing many and clogging up the courts, and may even help pave the way for our very own Trumpian figure.

Free speech and the right to exercise it are the cornerstone of any democracy. – Yours, etc,

PATRICK FLYNN,

Crossakiel,

Kells, Co Meath.