New publication explains scheme to disregard historic convictions of gay and bisexual men in Ireland

The booklet aims to help people who wish to submit a response to the public consultation on the Disregard Scheme.

Front page of the Disregard Scheme publication, portraying people during a protest with a sign that reads
Image: Clodagh Boyd 1982

The LGBT+ Restorative Justice Campaign has published a support publication to assist people and organisations who wish to submit a response to the Department of Justice’s public consultation on the scheme to disregard historic convictions of gay and bisexual men in Ireland.

Published on November 14, the Disregard and Redress: Restorative Justice for people impacted by Ireland’s anti-gay laws booklet was created by the aforementioned organisation in collaboration with The Rowan Trust and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties.

Co-founder of GLEN Kieran Rose, former co-director of Yes Equality Brian Sheehan, and long-time civil and LGBTQ+ rights activist Karl Hayden are behind LGBT+ Restorative Justice Campaign, an initiative that seeks to commemorate the lives of those who were impacted by the criminalisation of same-sex activity in Ireland.

Their publication is meant to guide all those who wish to participate in the consultation survey for the Disregard of Convictions for Certain Qualifying Offences Related to Consensual Sexual Activity between Men scheme launched by the Department of Justice earlier in November. The scheme aims to disregard historic convictions of gay and bisexual men who engaged in consensual same-sex activity before decriminalisation in 1993.

To provide a background for the new scheme, the booklet outlines the history of Ireland’s criminalisation of homosexuality and explains the impact it had on the LGBTQ+ community. In doing so, it commemorates those who were persecuted under the criminal laws and those who lost family and friends to them.

“To those who passed away before they saw justice, may you rest in power. And to those alive today, may you continue to thrive and may your voices be heard as part of the consultation process informing the disregard scheme,” the publication states.

Moreover, the booklet provides details on what the disregard scheme entails and how people can get involved through the consultation survey. The public consultation for the proposed Disregard Scheme will remain open until December 9, 2022.

“Exonerating those convicted of consensual same-sex relations would be a key step in the State’s recognition of and reparation for the extensive damage criminalisation inflicted upon LGBT+ people and communities, what was in effect, state sponsored homophobia,” the booklet states.

You can find the full publication here and soon available at

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