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Written Answers. - Anti-Racism Measures.

Thursday, 17 October 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 555 No. 4

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 32. Mr. Penrose Information on Willie Penrose Zoom on Willie Penrose  asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform Information on Michael McDowell Zoom on Michael McDowell  the progress which has been made in regard to the review of the Prohibition of Incitement to Racial Religious or National Hatred Act, 1989; when he expects the review to be completed; the further action he proposes to combat racism, having regard to the increasing number of racist statements and racially motivated attacks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18507/02]

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. McDowell): Information on Michael McDowell Zoom on Michael McDowell A review of the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act, 1989 which prohibits both actions intended to stir up hatred and actions likely to stir up hatred is currently under way in my Department. This review is being carried out in co-operation with the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism. While progress has been made on the review two developments will have to be taken into account before the review is concluded. On 28 November 2001, the European Commission presented a proposal for a Council framework decision on combating racism and xenophobia. It is intended that the framework decision will replace an existing joint action concerning action to combat racism and xenophobia. Negotiations on the framework decision are progressing. I con[1147] sider it appropriate to await the outcome of these negotiations before finalising the review of our existing legislation. In addition, the Council of Europe established a committee on criminalising acts of a racist or xenophobic nature committed through computer networks. Ireland participated in this committee, which has draw up a draft Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime on this issue.

The Government has introduced comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation and other measures to combat racism and discrimination and has a number of ongoing measures dealing with racism and racial discrimination, including the national anti-racism awareness programme, the national action plan against racism, the establishment of the Equality Authority and the Director of Equality Investigations, and the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism. In addition, the Garda racial and intercultural office has been set up. Our legislation in this area is one of the most comprehensive anti-discrimination codes in Europe.


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