Ireland: Hate Speech Law will See People Treated Like ‘Drug Dealers’

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Hate speech laws currently going through the Irish parliament will see ordinary people treated like “drug dealers” over their views, a Senator has said.

Senator Sharon Keogan has warned that the hate speech law being pushed through parliament by Ireland’s progressive government could, if implemented, see regular people in the country treated like “drug dealers” on account of what they say.

Keogan made the comment while attending an event hosted by Free Speech Ireland aimed at raising awareness about the coming legislation, which includes a highly controversial provision that could see someone potentially jailed if they are found in possession of an offensive meme.

As currently written, the hate speech law will assume anyone in possession of hateful material can be presumed guilty of wanting to spread it, unless they can prove themselves innocent. If they are found guilty under the new law if and when it is passed, a person can be jailed for up to one year.

Speaking at the event, Keogan said that she had received numerous emails from concerned members of the public about the bill, which she said will ultimately see ordinary people who wish to speak their minds criminalised under the legislation in a way similar to those dealing in illicit substances.