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As part of reviewing the legislation on hate speech the Department of Justice and Equality is consulting the public and stakeholders about how Ireland’s law in this area can be improved.

This consultation forms part of the review of existing law in this area, the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act 1989, and aims to ensure that Ireland’s legislation on hate speech is fit for purpose and is effective in meeting the real needs of communities and individuals who experience the impacts of hate speech.

Improvements in our hate-speech legislation are one element in a wider suite of measures across all areas of Government which are designed to address hatred and intolerance, including the development of hate crime legislation.

These measures will span across policies, operational areas, law enforcement and educational measures designed to support a safe, fair and inclusive Ireland, where expressions of hatred and prejudice are not tolerated, and can be dealt with swiftly and effectively where they occur.

An Irish language version of the survey is available here:  Comhairliúchán ar Fhuathchaint


What we are consulting on:

This public consultation focuses on how the existing legislation on hate speech can be improved.




What is illegal under the 1989 Act at the moment?

The 1989 Act prohibits certain forms of threatening, abusive or insulting conduct that are intended or likely to stir up hatred against a group of persons on account of certain characteristics.  These characteristics are race, colour, nationality, religion, ethnic or national origins, membership of the travelling community and sexual orientation.  The threatening, abusive or insulting conduct can take the form of


  • Actions likely to stir up hatred (section 2) – this covers the publication or distribution of written material; the use of words, behaviour or display of written material outside of a private residence; and the distribution, showing or playing of a recording of sounds or visual images;
  • Broadcasts likely to stir up hatred (section 3) – this covers broadcasts to the general public of images or sounds; and
  • Preparation and possession of material likely to stir up hatred (section 4) – this covers the preparation or possession, or the making or possession, of written material or recordings of sounds or visual images.



How you can have your say: 

There are three ways you can have your say



Have your say right away

Click the icon above to answer a 5 question survey






Make a written submission




The Department will also be actively engaging with the NGO community as part of this public consultation.  If you are part of a group that would like to participate in the consultation process please email HateSpeechConsultation@justice.ie


This consultation is closed