08 Dec 2021

WATCH | McFadden calls for tougher legislation on hate speech

Longford/Westmeath Fine Gael Senator, Gabrielle McFadden has called on the Government to review and strengthen laws on hate crime, incitement, and online hate speech.

During a contribution in the Seanad, she referenced recent incidents in Longford as well as politicians in the US, the UK and in Northern Ireland as instances where individuals or parties creating damage and division for their own political ends.

Also read: Minister McHugh slams misuse of Longford photo

Senator McFadden remarked, "Political discourse, both here and abroad is being degraded by a variety of groups and individuals who peddle messages of division and hatred that have no place in Irish culture.

“Some candidates in the recent elections ran campaigns based on messages of hate or fear, designed to get attention and support for themselves, irrespective of the consequences of their message to individuals, to the State or to society.

Also read: Furious Longford mother confronts Gemma O'Doherty for using photo of her son online without consent

“All of these have a couple of things in common – their message is one of division – setting one group in society against another on the basis of nationality, gender, sexuality, colour, religion, ethnicity, social class, political ideology or indeed any perceived variant of ‘otherness’.

Also read: Longford principal hits out at 'implied negativity' of Twitter post

“They also all have simplistic answers and superficially appealing mantras, blaming others.  The third thing that they have in common, whether they are right-wing or left-wing is that they are not concerned about the interests of the people that they supposedly represent; their primary concern is to radicalise people behind their own cause or group or to draw attention or electoral support for themselves.

“Those of us in the middle must stand up to these extremists, we must counter their politics of division, or as in the words of W. B. Yeats: ‘Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold: mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.’”

Also read: Longford is a peaceful place, say owners of Organic shop following controversial video

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