Nash welcomes public consultation on scheme to ‘disregard’ pre-1993 convictions of gay and bisexual men

04 November 2022
  • Process began with Labour’s 2016 Conviction for Certain Offences (Apology & Exoneration) Bill 
  • First step in process involved 2018 State apology to LGBT+ citizens and community 

Labour TD Ged Nash has welcomed today’s announcement by the Minster for Justice Helen McEntee of a public consultation on the development of a scheme that will see the setting aside of historic convictions held by gay and bisexual men who were convicted of engaging in consensual same-sex activity prior to the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1993.

Deputy Nash said:

“Today we are an important step closer to helping right some of the wrongs the State visited on LGBT+ citizens both before and after independence.

“This process began in 2016 with Labour’s Conviction for Certain Offences (Apology & Exoneration) Bill. The first element was the historic 2018 State apology to LGBT+ citizens and community for the harm caused by Ireland’s laws and the discrimination and injustice visited upon individuals and the LGBT+ community more broadly.

“The second aspect of Labour’s Bill was to establish an appropriate scheme that would provide for the setting aside of historic convictions carried by some gay and bisexual men and the full exoneration of adult men who were criminalised for who they are and who they love.

“For much of our history, Ireland was a cold and harsh place for the LGBTI+ community and citizens. We have made progress but events earlier this week shows we still have some distance to travel.

“Part of that journey involves coming to terms with our past and having a reckoning with it.

“With this public consultation process on a proposed disregards scheme, we are an important step closer to making peace with those men whose only ‘crime’ was their sexual orientation.

“I want to thank Minister McEntee and her officials, her predecessor Charlie Flanagan and the members of the Working Group for their ongoing commitment to this process.

“I would urge as many affected people as possible to engage in the process so an appropriate and sensitive disregard scheme, informed by best practice and imbued with the principles of human rights can ultimately be delivered.”

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