Acting Minister for Justice Simon Harris has dismissed concerns raised by Donald Trump Junior and Elon Musk about new hate crime legislation in Ireland.
Mr Trump called the measures in the bill – which is making its way through the Senate – “insane”, while Mr Musk called the legislation “very concerning”.
The bill is the first specific law to combat hate crime in Ireland.
It aims to facilitate the prosecution of crimes targeting “protected characteristics” such as race or sexual identity. There are provisions for prosecuting people for hate speech or possession of hate material.
Simon Harris said that when anyone in the Trump family or Mr. Musk took a different view, it was “not a bad day at the office”.
Mr Harris said people who portrayed the new legislation as an attempt to over-police were trying to misrepresent the intent of the laws.
Mr Harris was asked about the situation at the opening of a new call processing facility in Garda, Dublin city centre.
“The reality here is there’s people trying to overstate things here for whatever reason. That’s fine, we live in a democracy and let people have their debate,” Mr Harris said, reports RTE.
“This legislation went to Dáil Eireann. There’s not much that the Opposition and the Government agree on, (yet) overwhelmingly the Dáil passed this legislation, because it’s not about policing thought, it’s not about stopping freedom of expression. What it is about though is keeping people safe and making sure that people can go about their lives and not be discriminated against and have a result of that discrimination seeing them often be physically assaulted, or incitement to hatred in relation to them,” he added, reports RTE.
Mr Harris said critics need to “take a little step back” and consider what the bill says.
“Freedom of speech, freedom of expression – these are protected rights. We have a constitution, and we’re members of the European Union, we’re proud members of the United Nations. “This is a country where only as recently as this week you saw in the new press freedom survey Ireland go up four places. We’re seeing our defamation laws be reformed,” he said.
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