The lack of a proper definition of ‘hate crime’ in Irish law is putting vulnerable communities at risk, according to Green Party Justice spokesperson Cllr. Roderic O’Gorman. The Councillor was responding to RTÉ coverage of an as yet unpublished Garda report which, among a number of findings, highlights a failure to define hate crimes or develop procedures for the recording of hate crime.
“RTÉ’s coverage of the unpublished report into the Gardaí’s 2018 policing plan highlights the lack of a clear definition of hate crime in Irish law and the absence of proper procedures for recording hate crimes. This is a point the Green Party has been highlighting to the Minister for Justice in the Dáil.
“In response to a recent question about the number of hate crimes against members of the Trans community, the Minister for Justice had to accept that ‘the CSO are not currently producing statistics on crimes with a discriminatory motive.’ If we aren’t counting attacks specifically directed against vulnerable communities, how can these communities believe that violence against them is being treated seriously by the State?
“This report from the Gardaí themselves should act as a wake-up call to the Minister. He needs to bring forward legislation containing a clear definition of ‘hate crime’ and giving guidance to the judiciary on how to treat a hate element to a crime in sentencing. He also needs to resource An Garda Siochána to be able to record ‘hate crimes’ within Pulse and ensure that this information is collected and published.”
Also highlighted in the report is the failure of Gardaí to attract and recruit applicants from minority groups.
In response to the report the Garda Press Office said:
“An Garda Síochána is currently progressing a transformational change programme and this is stretching the organisation’s enabling functions such as HR, ICT and training. Every effort is being made to progress initiatives to a successful conclusion within these constraints.”
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