Timmons calls for bill against hate crimes

by Ian Begley
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A call for the Government to legislate a bill that increases protection to minorities in Ireland has been proposed by a Clondalkin councillor following the recent US massacre where a lone gunman shot and killed 49 people in a gay Orlando nightclub.
The proposed Criminal Law (Hate Crime) Bill was drafted in 2015, which will see tougher sentencing for individuals who carry out racist and other types of hate crimes.
However, the Government has yet to take action to review and introduce the bill, leaving many minorities in Ireland feeling unprotected.
Cllr Francis Timmons (Ind), who is a member of the LGBT community, said that he hopes the legislation will help “break the silence” on hate crime and encourage people to report racist and other hate attacks.
He said: “Ireland, unlike most other EU countries, has no hate crime legislation. Recently in Orlando we saw the action of hate in a most deplorable manner.
“I grew up in an Ireland where I saw others bullied and spat on for being gay. I was terrified that someone might find out my secret that I was gay too. I heard the cruel jokes and remarks about LGBT people, I heard the hate in people’s voices.
“I also had an experience where people called myself and my partner names as we tried to eat a meal one night many years ago. I grew up in an Ireland where it was normal to make jokes about people based on their skin color or disability.
“I am sick to death of the ‘I’m not racist but’ line and all other snide remarks at other people’s expense. I know all too well the hatred that unmarried mothers had to endure for decades in Ireland.
“I know only too well the cruel and degrading use of language and words used to describe people.
“We need to send a clear message that racism and hate have no place in our communities and that our society should be inclusive of all.
“Let’s make sure the Government feels the strong pressure from South Dublin County Council (SDCC) to protect our families, friends, neighbors and colleagues. Help us send out a strong message from SDCC that we want to live in a truly inclusive Republic which values all of our minorities and the integrity of our communities. Let’s make sure there is no space for hate in our country,” said Cllr Timmons.

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