Thursday, 28 November 2019
Ceisteanna ar Reachtaíocht a Gealladh - Questions on Promised Legislation
On Wednesday, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris gave a stark warning about the rise of far-right extremism, which he categorised as a threat. He called it "a growing concern right across law enforcement and intelligence agencies across Europe" and stated that the Garda was concerned about right-wing social media activity, planned arson attacks targeting direct provision centres and the infiltration of community groups. The Garda Commissioner specifically mentioned the difficulty of far-right messages being shared on websites and social media. Yesterday, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission raised serious concerns about remarks made by election candidates and elected public representatives. The commission is calling for a code of conduct and sanctions to ensure that while political debate remains free and open, it also remains free of rancour, discrimination and talk that is demonstrably racist.
In the context of these two strong interventions by senior public officials, does the Government agree that we need to have legislation in advance of the next general election to ensure that hate speech by parties or candidates is outlawed and that the spread of far-right messaging on social media, often originating outside the State, is controlled and, indeed, eliminated?