Sinn Féin denies U-turn on hate speech legislation despite previous support

Sinn Féin Denies U-Turn On Hate Speech Legislation Despite Previous Support
Sinn Féin has denied claims of a U-turn on the Government's proposed hate speech legislation. Photo: Collins
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James Cox

Sinn Féin has denied claims of a U-turn on the Government's proposed hate speech legislation, despite all of the party's TDs voting in favour of the Bill during the legislative process in the Dáil in 2023.

Sinn Féin justice spokesperson Pa Daly has called for the "badly thought out" Criminal Justice (Incitement to Violence or Hatred and Hate Offences) Bill to be scrapped.


“It must not proceed. I am calling on the leader of Fine Gael, Simon Harris, to clarify whether it is his intention to press ahead with the Hate Speech Bill,” Mr Daly said in a statement.

When asked Sinn Féin if the party's stance had changed after their TDs voted in favour of the hate speech legislation, the party insisted "Sinn Féin have set out our critique of the Bill at various stages of the legislative process".

In a statement, Sinn Féin said: "Sinn Féin have set out our critique of the Bill at various stages of the legislative process, proposing substantial amendments and most recently voting for an amendment to delay progress of the Bill in the Seanad.

"The government has not listened to any of the very valid concerns about this Bill. Sinn Féin on the other hand have listened very carefully to the major concerns there are about it and we are calling for it to be scrapped; as set out by various party spokespersons yesterday and today."


In a party tweet which included Mr Daly's statement, X, formerly Twitter, issued the following clarification: "When the Hate Speech Bill went to a vote in the Dáil on April 26, 2023, every single Sinn Fein representative present voted for the Bill per Oireachtas records."


Labour justice spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin wrote: "SF race to the right continues. Do they believe in anything anymore? Not leaders. Followers."


Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has resisted calls to scrap the hate speech legislation.

There has also been criticism from within Fine Gael, as former justice minister Charlie Flanagan and TD Michael Ring called for the Government to abandon the Bill.

Fianna Fáil TD and former defence minister Willie O'Dea has also called for it to be scrapped.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has defended the proposed hate speech legislation. Photo: PA Images

Ms McEntee said: “I think it is the case for every party, there are people with different views, not just on this legislation.

“This is an important Programme for Government commitment. People in our country do not feel safe simply because of who they are.

“Hate crime is on the increase. That’s being made clear to me by members of An Garda Síochana.

“That’s why we’re progressing this legislation while updating old legislation that we have from 1989.

“But as has been the case for any legislation that I’ve brought forward, I’m listening to and I’m engaging with colleagues where issues and concerns have been raised.

“I’m taking them on board with a number of amendments that have been developed.”


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