Peace and Justice
Out of the Shadows: Legislating for Hate Crime in Ireland
In response to calls from international organisations such as the European Committee on Racism and Intolerance, and the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the State has repeatedly stated that the Irish criminal process addresses the hate element of a crime in a satisfactory manner. Civil Society Organisations refuted this claim, drawing on their knowledge of the experiences of victims of such prejudicial aggression. This study sought to provide an evidence base for this position, seeking to assess the manner in which the hate element of a crime is addressed through the criminal justice process. Drawing on fieldwork with solicitors, barristers, Gardaí, and victims of hate crime, we explored how the hate element of a crime is systematically ‘disappeared’ through the process, from the point of reporting the crime to the sentencing of the offender. The findings of the research showed that the only way in which this could be remedied was through the introduction of bespoke legislation: the final Report included a template for such legislation.
Engaged Research Partners
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties and the NGO Working Group on Hate Crime (which included Doras Luimní, the European Network Against Racism Ireland, the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, the Immigrant Council of Ireland, Inclusion Ireland, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, the Irish Refugee Council, the Irish Traveller Movement, NASC, Pavee Point, the Public Interest Law Alliance, Sports Against Racism Ireland, and the Transgender Equality Network Ireland).
Engagement method or activity
This research was commissioned by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, and thus the framing of the research question and design was determined through a consultative process with both the ICCL and the NGO Working Group on Hate Crime. Throughout the research, there were a series of meetings of all partners at which the findings and progress of the research were discussed, and in which partners actively advised on the future directions of the research. They were participants to the research, and advised on potential interviewees for the project. At an early stage in the process, Minister for State, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, met with the partners and PIs to discuss the potential policy implications of the research, and requested that part of the project include policy and legislative reform recommendations which would be used to assist the development of policy in the Department of Justice in the area. The Final Report, along with policy and legislative reform recommendations were reviewed by the project partners, and all partners supported the ultimate findings and recommendations.
Project outputs and outcomes
The outputs are as follows:
- Evidence base on the need for, and form of, hate crime legislation in Ireland.
The outcomes are as follows:
- When initially published, the Report garnered significant media attention, with immediate calls on the Government to amend the law in line with the recommendations of the Report.
- The legislative recommendations now form the basis of the civil society-led #LoveNotHate campaign, which is supported by nearly 70 organisations in Ireland, some of which are national umbrella groups, and also includes organisations such as SIPTU and UNITE the Union.
- The research has also been cited in Dáil Debates, and is currently being used by the Justice Committee to inform the development of the Criminal Justice (Aggravation by Prejudice) Bill 2017.
- It has been cited to numerous national and international organisations to support the need for legislative change, and formed the basis of a successful application to the Petitions committee of the of the European Parliament by ENAR Ireland to investigate Ireland’s compliance with the EU Framework Decision on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law.
- Following the publication of the research, the NGO Working Group on Hate Crime was invited to present the findings of the research to members of the Oireachtas on the need for, and form of, hate crime legislation in Ireland.
Longer term anticipated areas for Impact
Policy and Public Service
Higher Education Institution:
University of Limerick
Irish Council for Civil Liberties
Dr Amanda Haynes (UL) and Jennifer Schweppe (UL)