Ireland’s Draconian “Hate Speech” Bill

What’s happening: Anti-immigration protests and riots in Ireland pushed Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadker to expedite the passage of a new hate speech bill with sweeping provisions.

The bill: The Criminal Justice (Incitement to Violence or Hatred and Hate Offences) Bill, initially introduced last year, is breathtakingly radical: it bars the mere possession of materials deemed "likely to incite violence or hatred."

  • It defines “materials” as “anything that is capable of being looked at, read, watched or listened to, either directly or after conversion from data stored in another form”).

  • Defining terms: “Hatred,” according to the bill, "means hatred against a person or a group of persons in the State or elsewhere on account of their protected characteristics."

Criminalizing dissent: Among the bill’s list of protected classes is “national or ethnic origin,” raising questions about whether those who speak against immigration could be prosecuted for “inciting hatred.”

Coming soon: Citing the anti-immigration riots — which came on the heels of a migrant stabbing of three Irish children — Varadker said: “I think it’s now very obvious to anyone who might have doubted us that our incitement to hatred legislation is just not up to date,” and pledged to pass the legislation “in a matter of weeks.”

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