Justice Minister Helen McEntee is said to be proposing a series of new offences in order to legislate against hate crime in Ireland.
In the legislation is passed, it would see harsher sentences against crime which is deemed to be motivated by prejudice against certain people. The new leglislation would move to protect society against hate crime based on, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, nationality, religion or disability.
These hate crimes would carry harsher convictions — for example assault causing harm carries a maximum of five years in prison. Assault causing harm aggravated by being a hate crime would mean a max seven-year jail term.
The General Scheme of the Criminal Justice (Hate Crime) Bill also provides for changes to laws around incitement to hatred, and an increase of the maximum sentence from two to five years under indictment for that offence.
If passed this would be the first time that Ireland has legislated for hate crime, with Minister Helen McEntee hoping the laws will be enacted next year.