Brussels, 26 April 2018
A report launched in Brussels today has shown that Ireland is lagging behind other EU countries when it comes to hate crime. The report, funded by the EU Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme, compares practice in five countries and was launched by Lynn Boylan MEP at the EU Parliament Building this morning.
Ms. Boylan said
“A complete lack of legislation on hate crime in Ireland prevents the development of good practice here. The fact that there is no real investment in specialist training or specialist units means that law enforcement officials are just not equipped to deal with this issue. Wider issues about the role of politics and the media are also highly relevant to the rise of intolerance across Europe.”
The research project aimed at understanding how hate crime, a cutting edge legal issue across Europe, is addressed and to make recommendations for better laws and practice. Despite the 2008 adoption of the EU framework decision on racism and xenophobia it found hugely variant practices across the five countries studied: Ireland, the UK, Latvia, Sweden and the Czech Republic.
Speaking at the launch, Amanda Haynes, co-author of the report, said:
“The report finds that, across the EU, this is a serious social issue which is generally inadequately dealt with. This is despite legislation such as the EU Victims’ Directive putting specific obligations on States with regard to victims of hate crime.”
Jennifer Schweppe, co-author, said:
“The report shows that effective response requires clear laws, training of officials at all levels, and good systems of data collection and communication.”
Liam Herrick, director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties said,
“Effective response means more than just harsher sentences to aggravated offences. It also means recognising the special vulnerability of victims and designing specialist interventions for offenders such as restorative justice in order to prevent reoffending.”
The report is the product of collaborative research lead by the ICCL, along with the Hate and Hostility Research Group of University of Limerick; IN IUSTITIA, Czech Republic; Latvian Centre for Human Rights; Umeå University, Sweden; and the University of Sussex, United Kingdom. The report was funded by the EU Commission.
The launch was attended by Irish and European MEPs as well as EU officials. The full report is available on the ICCL website.