‘Disregard’ scheme report must be published along with commitment to legislate this year
Labour TD Ged Nash has said that legislation to disregard historic convictions for consensual sexual activity between men must be enacted before the end of 2023.
Deputy Nash said:
“I started this process with Labour Party colleagues with the 2016 Convictions for Certain Sexual Offences (Apology & Exoneration) Bill.
“The first step was the securing of the historic State apology to LGBTQI+ citizens delivered in both Houses of the Oireachtas in 2018.
“I have subsequently worked with LGBTQI+ campaigners and advocates and the Department of Justice to establish a Working Group on a scheme of disregards and I am pleased that the report and recommendations have been adopted by government.
“The response to the recent public consultation was strong. We owe it to the men who this society prosecuted and persecuted because of who they are and who they love that the report is published without delay and that the necessary legislation to give effect to a scheme of disregards is enacted before the end of this year.
“It is now seven years since Labour’s legislation which gave rise to this process was first debated in the Oireachtas.
“It is critical that the scheme that is brought forward is informed at all times by a human rights-based approach, and that the scheme is accessible, inclusive, sensitive, appropriate and sufficiently broad.
“We know that we have long way to go before Ireland can be a beacon for LGBTQI+. Just last weekend, two constituents of mine in Drogheda were the victims of an alleged homophobic attack, which I raised in the Dail today. These kinds of violent attacks have no place in society.
“Part of the process of preparing for a better and more pluralist and tolerant future is to come to terms with our past. The apology and disregards process is a key part of that process and Labour will continue to work with the government on this important initiative.”