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Radical Legislation in Ireland Could Deal Fatal Blow to Free Speech

Posted on Tuesday, December 5, 2023
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by AMAC Newsline
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14 Comments

AMAC Exclusive – By Aaron Flanigan

free speech on Ireland flag

As debates over the First Amendment, digital censorship, and government collusion with Big Tech continue to loom large over American politics, perhaps the gravest threat to free speech in the Western world is now quietly emerging across the pond on the Emerald Isle.

Following days of rioting in Dublin that came in response to an Algerian migrant brutally stabbing a woman and three children in broad daylight on November 23, the Irish government is now actively pushing a so-called “anti-hate speech” law that, if enacted, would likely stand as the most blatant violation of the right to free speech in the West today.

Though Ireland already has laws on the books prohibiting criminal harassment and the incitement of riots, the recently proposed legislation would drastically expand the Irish government’s power to restrict not only speech, but also the mere possession of materials that it deems “likely to incite violence or hatred.”

Specifically, the bill targets any “offense of preparing or possessing material likely to incite violence or hatred against persons on account of their protected characteristics.” The bill defines “hatred” as “hatred against a person or a group of persons in the State or elsewhere on account of their protected characteristics”—which include national origin, “transgender” status, and “gender[s] other than those of male and female.”

The legislation further notes that one of the punishable acts relating to “xenophobia” is “the commission of an act… by public dissemination or distribution of tracts, pictures or other material.”

In other words, under the bill, criticism or even the simple possession of material that is critical of Ireland’s lax immigration policies or leftist gender ideology would likely be deemed illegal—amounting to the effective criminalization of basic political speech. As Elon Musk warned, Irish citizens could be jailed for simply “having a meme on your phone.”

“Racism and xenophobia are direct violations of the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, principles upon which the European Union is founded and which are common to the Member States,” the bill states.

In a press release, the Ireland Department of Justice maintained that previous “hate speech” laws on the books were ineffective because they had resulted in “only about 50 prosecutions in the more than 30 years since it was enacted.” The new law, the press release went on, would enact “simpler provisions designed to be more effective in securing convictions”—a clear sign that the Irish government is not only prepared, but also apparently eager to start jailing citizens for expressing dissenting political views.

Though the bill was first introduced more than a year ago, last week’s Dublin riots have served as the latest impetus for Irish progressives to double down on their desire to restrict speech.

Immediately following the riots, which the media has predictably blamed on the “far right” (even though, in the words of columnist Michael Brendan Dougherty, the riots mostly “consisted of the usual opportunistic lootings”) Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar used the occasion to call to “modernize laws against hatred.” An updated set of laws, he said in a speech, must allow Irish authorities to individually “go after” people “who post messages and images online that stir up” what they perceive to be “hatred and violence.”

Polls show that approximately three out of four Irish reject the proposed legislation—and it’s no wonder why. For all of civilizational history, efforts to censor, restrict, or otherwise stigmatize political speech have been a leading indicator of tyrannical and despotic regimes. If Ireland ultimately passes this bill and sends the right to free speech to the chopping block, it is not difficult to imagine that other Western nations might follow suit.

As writer Rod Dreher observed in The European Conservative, “It will not get any better in Ireland, in Britain, or anywhere else if the public simply sits back and waits for better times.” He continued: “If those people don’t take to the streets peacefully to stare down Varadkar’s government and make it retreat, they may not have the liberty to do so in the near future.”

For the good of the right to free speech, the cause of liberty, and perhaps the future of Western civilization itself, citizens of the free world should hope the Irish will peacefully speak up while they still can.

Aaron Flanigan is the pen name of a writer in Washington, D.C.

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PaulE
PaulE
2 months ago

This sort of legislation is either already in place or being proposed throughout a number of European countries. The ruling class, meaning the leftist politicians that make up so much of the western European so-called social welfare states, does NOT want to hear the people don’t like or want their destructive policies. So of course, increasingly authoritarian regimes do what they always do. They pass laws to criminalize speaking out against the regime in power as a means to try and suppress the people as the government’s destructive policies continue to be implemented. This is nothing new.

When the leader of a country demands his own people essentially just shut up and sit down as the government goes about trashing the country these politicians were elected to serve and protect, then the people naturally will object, in one form or another, to the actions of leaders that DO NOT represent the will of the people they supposedly serve. Note I said serve the people as opposed to rule the people, which is something many politicians have a very different sense of. By the way, the manner the people of Ireland opted to show their disapproval with the government’s policies was both unfocused and misdirected. It was unproductive. Trashing and looting stores does nothing to get the government’s attention to change their bad policies. It just emboldens an authoritarian and out of touch government to enact the very sort of law now being proposed.

This situation is not just happening in Ireland, but in nearly every western European country since Merkel threw open Germany’s and ultimately Europe’s borders to a mass migration of over a million illegals from the Middle East in 2015. It’s only gotten worse since then. The vast majority of these illegals who have no interest in assimilating into western European vales and culture. They came from the free handouts and to be taken care of for life. Crime has of course quickly escalated all across western Europe as these people have no respect for the laws of the infidels that support them.

I’m sure at some point in the not-so-distant future, western European countries and even the United States, if this next election doesn’t produce the desired result, will end up with so-called “security laws” very similar to those that the CCP enacted to control the people of Hong Kong.

Jeri
Jeri
2 months ago

Unbelievable. The Irish people better pull it together fast or they will be longing for another potato famine.

RJ
RJ
2 months ago

This why I am against hate speech legislation. I commented about that in another article a few days ago. Hatespeech laws are basically thought control. Pure violation of the first amendment.

Rob citizenship
Rob citizenship
2 months ago

This article is appreciated Mr. Flanigan , it is important to know about the mindset of those in favor of limiting freedom of speech . It is encouraging to know that three out of four Irelanders are opposed to these anti freedom ideas. Great that you included that information in the article. Grandparents from Eire, I have not been there , however I did see parts of it from the air ( I was in an airplane at the time – that was 1971 ) headed to western European countries on the continent – to do research on an independent project on coastal ship operations – ferries in particular . So, best wishes for the freedom loving men and women in Ireland and hopefully articles like this that you wrote will help significantly to protect freedom of the people of Ireland. The knowledge you presented in this article is a profound bit of advice about taking action to protect freedom of speech. Well done Aaron. There sure enough is an abundance of history to look to for encouraging ideas on how to deal with this freedom of situation in Ireland. For anyone who seriously thinks that anti freedom of speech measures will be enacted without resistance – they need to get more familiar with Irish history. In the spirit of President Ronald Reagan – it would be good to think in terms of peace through strength to deal with the freedom of speech protection issue . Let truth and Liberty prevail in Ireland.
.

porterv
porterv
2 months ago

Without the right to voice your opinions there is no freedom. Hopefully the Irish are prepared to fight for theirs.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
2 months ago

This is what happens when a government believes they own your rights. Meanwhile, I bet Joe is taking “how-to” notes…

MJB
MJB
2 months ago

Free Ireland is well down the path to its demise. What a shame. I imagine that even the Bible would fall into the category of material that might incite violence.

Kyle Buy you some guns,and learn how to shoot
Kyle Buy you some guns,and learn how to shoot
2 months ago

I would love to see a Supreme Court case on hate speach. You cannot try someone on hate speach. Hate comes from the Heart and Brain. Big fnes and Jail time cannot change that. Mind alterintg drugs are vthe answer. God help us if we ever get to that stage of life. Kyle L.

spitfire?1940
spitfire?1940
2 months ago

JP.DONLEAVY,Author of “The Ginger Man” oulde Ireland needs Sebastion Dangerfield.Begora bring him back quickly before the banshee are upon us lad!

Tony R
Tony R
2 months ago

That’s the Ivory Coast flag.

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