Minister For Justice Urged To Progress Hate Crime Legislation

The Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, has been urged to progress Fianna Fáil legislation to tackle hate crime.

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Justice Jim O'Callaghan made the call following the release of "deeply disturbing" images of a teenage girl who was attacked in Dublin in what is being reported as a racially motivated assault.

Deputy O'Callaghan said: "Fianna Fáil condemns those who engaged in this act in the strongest possible terms. No person should be the subject of such treatment, and perpetrators should be dealt with in the strongest possible terms.

"The Minister for Justice should work to progress Fianna Fáil's Criminal Justice (Aggravation by Prejudice) Bill at the nearest opportunity. The Bill received cross party support and passed second stage in the Dáil in October 2016. The Bill went through pre-legislative scrutiny in May 2017 but has stalled since then due to Government inaction."

Deputy O'Callaghan said that similar legislation is already in place in Scotland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales and that "Ireland is behind the curve on this issue as a result of government inaction".

He continued: "If enacted, the Fianna Fáil bill would provide that assaults such as these would be regarded as aggravated because the victim was targeted because of her religion. This aggravation would be a factor to be taken into account by a court in imposing sentence on any person convicted of the offence.

"We need robust laws in place to serve as a deterrent to those who consider committing these acts and ensure the appropriate punishment is there to prosecute those who commit hate crimes."


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