Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said that the Government’s proposed Hate Crime Bill will introduce new legislation to combat incitement to hatred and hate crime in Ireland, online and offline.
The bill will introduce an offence of inciting hatred against another person or group due to characteristics including race, religion, ethnic or national origin.
It will also create a new offence of denying, or grossly trivialising, crimes of genocide, including Holocaust denial.
And school curriculums will be revised to promote equality and diversity, the Taoiseach said.
We will publish a new National Action Plan on Racism, including measures to combat anti-semitism, anti-gypsyism, and other forms of racism,” the Taoiseach said.
He also said he was pleased to recently join with other countries at the United Nations’ Human Right Council in signing a joint statement pledging to combat anti-Semitism.
The Taoiseach was speaking at the Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism.
Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić also spoke on countering contemporary antisemitism and other forms of racism online and offline.
“Today, old prejudices and hatreds are being re-animated – now through new technologies and ever-evolving platforms,” Taoiseach Micheál Martin said.
He added that there had been a surge in 'misinformation' and disinformation, an increase in antisemitism and other religious hate speech, and insidious and creeping denial of the Holocaust and other genocides.
The growing trend in online hate speech, compounded by conflict, racism, misogyny, and pandemic misinformation, threatens the fundamental aspirations under the UN Charter, to safeguard human rights and achieve fundamental freedoms for all, he commented.
“Indeed, the principles and proper functioning of democracy itself are under sustained attack,” he said.
The Irish Government is fully committed to countering these threats, and to remembering the Holocaust, he stated, and recently signed the United Nations Human Rights Council pledge to combat anti-Semitism.
“It is only through remembrance and education, that we can strive to ensure that nothing like the Holocaust can ever be allowed to happen again,” he concluded.