Ireland Crushes Free Speech - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Ireland Crushes Free Speech
County Clare, Ireland (Burben/Shutterstock)

Ireland’s far-left government is in the midst of passing some of the most extreme legislation on so-called hate speech that the Western world has ever seen. The Criminal Justice Incitement to Violence or Hatred and Hate Offences bill would prosecute what even leftist politician Paul Murphy called “thought crimes.” Should the bill become law, which seems likely, the government will possess unprecedented power to quash or silence peaceful protests and demonstrations, prosecute the makers and sharers of memes, and effectively ban opinions it doesn’t like. Even prejudice against a “protected characteristic” will become a crime, as will merely possessing material deemed hateful, like a history book or meme.

The actual text of the bill explains that it will target, among other things, “certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law.” This is of particular concern, as Irish citizens are currently protesting against the government’s lack of response to the ongoing immigration crisis, which has in turn worsened the nation’s housing crisis. Protestors have been dubbed “racists” by government officials. Those who violate the proposed law could be imprisoned “for a term not exceeding 5 years.” The legislation also demands that Irish citizens turn over “any password necessary to operate [a phone or computer] and any encryption key or code necessary to unencrypt the information accessible by the computer.” Failure to comply is punishable by up to a year a prison, in addition to fines.

The law would also include gender and gender identity as protected characteristics, meaning that authentic, valid, well-reasoned criticism of the transgender movement would be subject to being quashed by the government.

Indeed, the law comes amidst a shockingly swift rise in Ireland of pro-trans propaganda, which has the full-throated support of the government and establishment media. After openly gay Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and openly gay government minister Roderic O’Gorman called for transgender education courses in elementary schools, the Catholic Primary Schools Management Association spoke out against the proposal, noting that there is as of yet no scientific consensus surrounding transgenderism. Under the new hate speech legislation, such a statement stands to be criminalized.

Irish legal scholar and philosopher Gerard Casey recently wrote of his concerns over the proposed legislation:

In general, hate speech crimes are demanded by victim groups for recognition of their special victim status, and they are provided by politicians for political reasons, including the attractive and cost-free benefit to those politicians of signalling their superior virtues. Perhaps most significantly, however, hate speech crimes function to provide for the pre-emptive repression of criticism. Transphobia, as a hate speech crime, pre-empts criticism of transgenderist ideology.

Pro-life rhetoric and activism may also soon be criminalized. Ireland only just legalized abortion five years ago, and it has already butchered over 28,000 unborn children. The government is currently attempting to expand the abortion agenda, including by jettisoning the current mandatory three-day waiting period and potentially blocking pro-life doctors from working at hospitals.

On Monday, thousands of Irish gathered in Dublin to host a march for life, vocally opposing the proposed changes to abortion law. Under the new hate speech legislation, such demonstrations may be outlawed.

Though only 14 members of the Dáil Éireann (Ireland’s lower house of parliament) voted against the bill, the legislation is not without strong opposition. The grassroots conservative Irish Freedom Party has spoken out forcibly against the bill, saying that such laws “are designed to shut down opposition to mass immigration and woke dogma. They want to instill fear into people and force compliance. We will resist them to the end.” Irish Freedom Party founder and president Hermann Kelly told The American Spectator:

The new anti-free speech laws in Ireland are Orwellian in nature, introducing for the first time the category of thought crime, by making it a criminal offence to simply possess material the of which state does not approve. It’s dystopian in the extreme … . The fusion of the political, media, and NGO class in Ireland into what amounts to a super woke and globalist uni-party is a massive attack on fundamental human rights and legal norms which have formed over many centuries.… Ireland is turning into a dangerous cesspit where basic human rights are discarded.

Even those outside the Emerald Isle are noting the draconian nature of the legislation. Donald Trump Jr., for example, called the bill “insane.” And Twitter CEO Elon Musk strongly condemned the legislation, saying, “I really can’t emphasize this enough, we must protect free speech.… The thing about censorship is that, for those who would advocate it, just remember at some point, that will be turned on you.”

As the U.S. becomes more and more polarized and as a new election looms on the horizon — which will undoubtedly be contentious — it will be important to note how Ireland fares under the iron-heeled boot of leftist ideological dictatorship.

Sign up to receive our latest updates! Register

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: The American Spectator, 122 S Royal Street, Alexandria, VA, 22314, You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Be a Free Market Loving Patriot. Subscribe Today!