Hate Crime on the Island of Ireland: A Challenge for Communities, Practitioners, and Legislators

Wednesday, October 18, 2017 - 17:45

Emily Logan, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission today launched a new book which explores the manner in which hate crime presents itself north and south of the border, as well as presenting challenges as experienced by practitioners and policy makers in addressing hate crime.

The edited volume of essays, produced by academics Amanda Haynes and Jennifer Schweppe from the University of Limerick and Seamus Taylor from Maynooth University has noted that Ireland is one of the only jurisdictions in western Europe without hate crime legislation with one of the contributors, Professor Barbara Perry, suggesting that the lack of legislation in Ireland may indicate a ‘tacit permission for bias motivated crime’.

The book, entitled ‘Critical Perspectives on Hate Crime – Contributions from the Island of Ireland’ combines a diversity of contributions, achieving a unique balance between academics, activists, policy makers and practitioners. It offers perspectives from both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The book presents an account of the manner in which hate crime is experienced by Black and Muslim communities and for the first time in Ireland, the book presents an account of the manner in which hate crime is experienced by disabled people, sex workers, members of the LGB community, members of the trans community, and members of the Traveller and Roma communities. It also uniquely presents accounts by practitioners in the field who seek to address hate crime through the criminal justice process, including those working with the Probation Service and An Garda Síochána. Finally, first-hand accounts of supporting victims and survivors of hate crime on both sides of the border is provided by civil society organisations.

Launching the book at the Royal Irish Academy, Emily Logan, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission said: “It is not the responsibility of victims to avoid being targets of hate crime; it is the responsibility of governments to send a clear message to society that hate crime is not tolerated. This timely publication provides a valuable insight into the dynamics of hate crime in Ireland, and is a valuable contribution to the current debate on modernising Ireland’s legal and policy framework to address hate crime.”

Dr Amanda Haynes of the Department of Sociology in University of Limerick said: “Hate crime is part of the lived reality of contemporary Irish society, but the concept has not historically been recognised the institutions of our State. This book addresses that disjuncture. The chapters in this volume bring us face to face with the experience of hate crime victimisation in Irish society, and critically analyse the manner in which our state and civil society organisations respond to those experiences.”

Jennifer Schweppe, School of Law, University of Limerick said: ‘‘This volume will be of value not only to scholars, activists and policy makers who are engaged with hate crime in Ireland, but also to international stakeholders who we believe will find much of interest here. The global problem of hate crime is assessed through an Irish lens, an issue which is of international concern given the evidenced rise of hate crime in the UK post-Brexit, and in the US in the aftermath of the election of Donald Trump.’’

Seamus Taylor, Department of Applied Social Studies, Maynooth University said: ‘‘The range of contributions in this edited collection meld theory, research and practice in a coherent analysis of hate crime on the island of Ireland. This book addresses a gap in our knowledge base concerning Ireland and contributes to debates with global relevance. This first comprehensive critical account of hate crime in the Irish context provides a unique contribution to the field of hate studies and activism with a number of contributions evidencing the need for hate crime legislation."