488. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Justice the date on which her Department is working towards to introduce hate crime legislation to the Houses of the Oireachtas; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27672/21]
Minister of State at the Department of Justice (Deputy Hildegarde Naughton): The Deputy may be aware that the Justice Plan 2021 commits to introducing new legislation to deal with hate crime and incitement to hatred by the end of this year. The General Scheme of the Criminal Justice (Hate Crime) Bill 2021 was published in April.
The policy on which these legislative proposals are based is set out in “Legislating for Hate Speech and Hate Crime in Ireland – Report on the Public Consultation 2020”, which was published in December 2020. These policy proposals were drawn from a comprehensive public consultation undertaken by the Department, which attracted almost 4,000 responses.
The General Scheme of the Bill has now been referred to the Joint Justice Committee for Pre-Legislative Scrutiny. Following this, it will be drafted by the Office of Parliamentary Counsel, in cooperation with my Department’s Officials.
It is anticipated that the Bill will be published by the end of the year, after which it will begin its passage through the Houses of the Oireachtas.