13 2 mins 11 yrs

Isn’t this a basic intrusion into liberty?

A Kerry man has been remanded on continuing bail at the District Court in Killarney, Co Kerry, on “a novel charge” relating to alleged comments about Travellers on a website.

The charge is being brought under the Incitement to Hatred Act and is the first of its kind dealing with online material on the internet site in question. 

The hearing, scheduled for the autumn, will involve a lot of technical matter and is likely to be contested, the court heard. The allegation relates to a Facebook page which has since been closed down, and to alleged anti-Traveller sentiments, it has previously been confirmed. Patrick Kissane (27), of Knockasarnett, Killarney, is charged with “actions likely to stir up hatred” on October 1st, 2009.

The so called Incitement to Hatred Act is more like a dilution of freedom of expression. I have no idea if the comments about “travellers” (or Gypsies as we sometimes call them) were hurtful, obscene or otherwise BUT surely to goodness this recourse to the Court is not the appropriate solution?

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  1. There’s a long history of Irish songs about gypsies. When will they be banned?

    Since everything one can think of is an offense now.

  2. Sticks and stones may break settled people’s bones but travellers seem to believe names are even more lethal and lucrative.

    I feel the lust for a huge cash soother will come to fruition with the payout for travelling people when this little incident is rammed down the throats of the Irish public.

    Cash/Cashe familiar surname!

    OOP’s the Gardai are knocking on my door now!

  3. This is really bizarro world since the linked article does not repeat what was said.

  4. David,

    Hate speech, whether on Sinn Fein t-shirts or on the internet or other arena must be condemned by all right thinking people.

  5. Pinky, I think it depends on whether or not it was hate speech. No one knows what it was this guy said or in what context he said it. No one knows was he writing it because he hates Gypsies or if he was trying to incite hatred of Gypsies.

    Too often people hide behind allegations of discrimination, racism, sectarianism, anti-Semitism, etc because they can’t be bothered to debate legitimate points.

  6. I don’t like the idea of hate speech in general. Is it really got to the stage where we need to government to pass laws telling us not to be mean? If someone wants to be homophobic let them. If someone wants to be racist let them. If someone wants to be anti-Catholic let them. If someone discriminates against someone punish them for it. If someone attacks someone because they don’t like them punish them for it. But it isn’t the state’s job to tell us what to think.

  7. Well, did you think that t-shirt was hate speech and had no place in civil society?

    But yes, we all get the free speech rights and who decides arguments.

    But with rights come responsibilities.

  8. Hate speech should not be artificially suppressed

    I’ve seen various racists- neo Nazis, black supremicists, Jewish Defense League types – on the streets of NY. They were given a hard time by the passerby, but they did not act illegally

    The problem with such laws is that there is an ever shifting line, always trending towards more restrictions on speech

    Big problem

  9. Agreed Phantom.

    Most reasonable people recognise REAL hate speech when they see it and reject it outright.

  10. The Neo Nazis actually appeared with a Swastika poster on the streets of Brooklyn, in an area that had a lot of Jewish people

    They were escorted out of the area for their own safety by the NYPD – I witnessed this. Otherwise they may have been lynched

    The black racists are seen as entertainment. They have lots of fun theories about blacks being the true Jews and all of that. Some of them talk about spaceships and such.

  11. I agree with Seamus. Let people say and think what they want. So called ‘Hate speech’ laws can only ever be vaguely interpretive and are not a good use of what should be clarity in law. It also lends itself to huge amounts of hypocrisy. Many of those who will shout about ‘political correctness’ over the prosecution of this alleged anti-Gypsy individual would be the first to demand the prosecution of fundamentalist Muslims holding an anti-Western Jihad supporting march with their inflamatory banners, just as elements of the left who defend these Muslims free speech rights would not hesitate to throw the legal book at the BNP or English Defence league members.

    Hate speech laws always operate to favour a certain political climate and should not be necessary in a healthy robust open democracy.

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