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Diversity policing expert dubious on hate-crime bill
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23 May 2023 / legislation Print

Diversity policing expert is dubious on hate-crime bill

A senior retired garda inspector has voiced serious concern about proposed hate crime legislation, which introduces the crime of hate speech and mandates tougher sentences for crimes motivated by bigotry.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Dr Dave McInerney, a veteran officer with 43 years’ experience who founded the Garda National Diversity Bureau, said that many minority community leaders are concerned about the proposed measures. 

Dr McInerney, who was primarily responsible for liaising with minority groups, including immigrants and Travellers, said that: “I’d be afraid that this new aggravated sentencing could cause a lot of upset in the community.

“That’s not coming from me. It’s coming from minority community leaders themselves who would say to me, ‘David, we don’t want to see Irish people get a big sentence in the courts because they said a bad word to a black person or whatever,’” McInerney told reporter Conor Gallagher.

McInerney, who holds a PhD in policing minority communities, added: “One hate crime is too many … I’ve dealt with so many victims of hate crime and the after-effects are horrible.”

However, he said that strict sentencing codes imported from other countries are unnecessary.

“People tell me we’re happy the way things are in Ireland,” he said.

McInerney has raised his concerns with the Minister for Justice.


McInerney points out that policing cannot resolve community tensions about an influx of asylum seekers or refugees into localities.

He states that a "subtle and unorthodox" approach is required to deal with protests and that heavy-handed policing backfires on the incoming minority group.

“So, I’d be constantly risk assessing, asking: ‘How do I handle this person to get a good result for everybody?’.”

Communication is key to reducing tensions both with communities and with minority groups, he adds.

This includes explaining to locals who exactly is moving into their areas, how long they are staying for and where they come from, as well as listening to concerns.

He would also tell new arrivals why the locals are concerned, he said.

Gazette Desk
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