Details Of Irish 'Gay Pardon' To Be Debated In The Dáil

The Government are planning to "recognise the wrongs" done to those persecuted for homosexuality in Ireland but say introducing a gay pardon will face legal complications.

david norris pictured with a pride flag, Norris was instrumental in the decriminlisation of homosexuality which the government is now planning to pardon thise prosecuted
Image: The Guardian

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar yesterday confirmed that the government are planning a measure to “recognise the wrongs” done to those persecuted for homosexuality in Ireland with the introduction of a gay pardon.

He announced that a cross-party motion to recognise the injustice endured by people convicted of “homosexuality offences” will be debated in the Dáil.

Varadkar also confirmed an event will be held by the State to mark the 25th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality at the end of June.


25 Years Since Decriminalisation

“For far too many decades members of the LGBT community were wrongly discriminated against and many were convicted on charges of being gay. In the UK, Turing’s law was passed to pardon all those who were convicted before decriminalisation was introduced.

“I am aware that the Northern Assembly has passed a motion calling for a pardon. Will the Taoiseach indicate whether the government intends to bring forth legislation in this House to achieve a similar objective, namely, to pardon all those who were convicted?” Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach today.


Decriminalisation Days: The people at the heart of the decriminalisation of homosexuality campaign remember the heady days of 1993 when law reform was on the agenda. Read the special piece in our 30th Anniversary Edition here.

“We are working on a motion, which I hope all parties can agree, to recognise the wrongs that were done,” Varadkar said, however, he noted that it is not a straightforward matter.”


Gay Pardon Faces Legal Complications

Legal complications could impact the State from granting a pardon to people persecuted under the law which saw an estimated 50 individuals criminalised.

“There is a complication in that it is not always possible to distinguish one conviction from another. In some cases, the convictions involve minors and it is not necessarily possible in all cases to distinguish whether the offence involved a minor, a point that makes things a little trickier in Ireland for reasons Deputy Martin will understand.

“It is our intention to have an all-party motion in the spirit mentioned by the Deputy. Senator Nash is leading on this in the Seanad, along with Senator Buttimer and others,” said Varadkar.

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