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Colin Mangan
Posted on 1 Feb 2024 12:56 am (This comment has been reported to moderators)

Minister McEntee is spreading disinformation here. She starts out by dismissing as "nonsense" the idea that JK Rowlings comments or those who make factual statements about biological sex would be would be prosecuted under the legislation.

However, she later slips in a very important qualification "unless the individuals can be proven to have directly incited violence or hatred on the basis of that protected characteristic."

A key point to be made here, and a key source of disinformation (or is it just misinformation because they are misinformed about the legislation they are pushing), is that the law distinguishes between "incitement to violence" and "incitement to hatred" - separate crimes under the proposed legislation as denoted by the 'or'.

While JK Rowlings biologically factual comments might not be considered "incitement to violence", those in the transgender community certainly consider them to be "incitement to hatred" - "hatred" being a completely subjective and unobservable, internal feeling.

Note, under the proposed legislation (and indeed the 1989 Act), no hatred need actually be incited for the crime of "incitement to hatred" to have been committed.

In the absence of a definition of "hatred" in the legislation, Garda policy with respect to hate crimes becomes a key factor. Current Garda policy states that their working definition of a hate crime is:

"Any criminal offence which is ***perceived*** by the victim or any other person to, in whole or in part, be motivated by hostility or prejudice..."
(Emphasis added)

Note above, the minister's bemoaning of the use of the terms "hostility" and "prejudice" with regard to defining "hatred" - perhaps she is unaware of what the current Garda policy is and so, her statements in with regard to this would be considered misinformation.

So, people can, and will, be arrested based on the basis of someone's ***perception*** that what was said was motivated by "hostility" or "prejudice" - see the case of Billboard Chris when we was in Dublin and a Garda told him he could be arrested for wearing a billboard which said "children cannot consent to puberty blockers" (

This was prior to the proposed legislation.

Now, once arrested, the file will be sent to the DPP. How are they going to interpret "incitement to hatred [where no hatred need actually be incited]". There's nothing in the proposed legislation to guide them.

Then, in court, when the inevitable "experts" are called to give witness testimony as to whether something is "hateful" or not, how will this shape the jury's thinking - particularly when they are informed of their "unconscious bias" as mentioned by the minister?

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