ICCL-Backed Study Finds Hate Crime Must 'Come out of Shadows'

Press release, for release Monday 13 June 2015 11am

Hate crime in Ireland is widespread, yet "remains in the shadows" of our criminal justice system, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has said, as it launched research commissioned from researchers at the University of Limerick's Hate and Hostility Research Group.

Speaking at launch of "Out of the Shadows: Legislating for Hate Crime in Ireland", ICCL Executive Director Mark Kelly said:

"This report, a result of Ireland's only cross-sectoral research project dedicated to the reform of Irish hate crime law, is based on wide-ranging interviews with victims of hate crime, members of the Garda Síochána and legal professionals, and on detailed review of international best practice on tackling hate crime. It concludes that there is an urgent need to tackle the problem through introduction of robust modern legislation that creates dedicated criminal offences and enhanced sentencing for hate-motivated crime, and introduces better reporting and recording of incidents of hate crime."

Co-director of the University of Limerick Hate and Hostility Research Group Jennifer Schweppe added:

"While the state claims that hate crime is being adequately addressed, our research shows that in fact it lives in the shadows, largely invisible in the criminal justice process. There has been a system-wide failure to recognise the harms of hate and to provide victims with appropriate protection under the law."

Co-director of the University of Limerick Hate and Hostility Research Group Dr Amanda Haynes concluded:

"The experiences of those we interviewed – hate-motivated assaults, vandalism, property damage and threats - are simply unacceptable. It is not the responsibility of victims to avoid being targets of hate crime; it is the responsibility of the legislature to send a clear message to society that this behaviour is not tolerated. By adopting our legislative proposals, the government can do just this."

ENDS

Contact

For further information on the project, and to arrange interviews, please contact:

Walter Jayawardene, ICCL Communications Manager | walter.jayawardene@iccl.ie 087 9981574

NOTES

- A précis of the research, and accompanying draft heads of bill, can be downloaded at www.ul.ie/hhrg

- Launch took place this morning, Monday 13 July 2015 at 11am in the Fitzwilliam Suite, Fitzwilliam Hotel, Stephen's Green.

- The research was launched by:

- Mark Kelly, Executive Director, Irish Council for Civil Liberties
- Jennifer Schweppe and Amanda Haynes of the University of Limerick Hate and Hostility Research Group

- Also attending were representatives of the NGO Working Group assisting with the research project including: Doras Luimní, the European Network Against Racism Ireland (ENAR), the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN), the Immigrant Council of Ireland, Inclusion Ireland, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, the Irish Refugee Council, the Irish Traveller Movement, NASC, Pavee Point, Sports Against Racism Ireland, and the Transgender Equality Network of Ireland.

- Gareth Chaney of Collins Photos will file pictures from the event to newsdesks. Contact info@collinsphotos.com


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