C: Gript

Rural TDs warn Free Speech “Under Attack” – Ireland could have “North Korea-like regime”   

A Cork South West TD has warned that “silencing speech is akin to throttling freedom” amidst calls to oppose the government’s new ‘hate speech’ legislation that critics view as an assault on free speech. 

Deputy Michael Collins said that the proposed legislation “poses a draconian crackdown to free speech in Ireland”. The Deputy leader of the Rural Independent group said that if the bill becomes law, it could turn Ireland into a “North Korea-like regime, where the truth is suppressed, and democracy is eroded”.

The TDs, who opposed the bill in the Dáil, say they are concerned that Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, the Green Party, Sinn Féin, Labour, and the Social Democrats, all of whom supported the legislation, are “promoting a dangerous woke ideology that seeks to stifle free speech”.

The bill was opposed by just 14 TDs in the Dáil, including the Rural TDs and Aontú leader, Peadar Tóibín.

“Silencing speech is akin to throttling freedom, and gagging expression is like suffocating democracy,” Deputy Collins said.

He also accused the government of prioritizing their woke ideology over pressing matters such as crises in health, housing, energy, and inflation.

“Amidst major crises in health, housing, energy, and inflation, Ireland’s government persists in prioritizing their woke ideology over pressing matters,” he said.

“The public consultation on the Hate Speech legislation garnered a staggering 3,600 responses, with over 70 percent of respondents expressing opposition to the proposed legislation. Despite this overwhelming rejection, the government continues to push ahead, demonstrating a blatant disregard for the will of the people. Such behaviour is not only unacceptable, but also raises grave concerns about a government that places its own interests ahead of the public’s.”


Collins said that the government’s proposed Hate Speech legislation “represents a chilling attack on free speech, aimed at maintaining obedience and enabling social engineering”.

“By granting unprecedented powers to censor dissent, prosecute content creators, and ban disagreeable opinions, the government risks transforming Ireland into an Orwellian state, suppressing individual thought and expression under the guise of preventing hate speech”.


“These sweeping new powers would give the government control over what ordinary people say in public, on social media, and other internet platforms. The legislation’s vague definitions and broad applications open the door to government overreach and abuse. Under this law, citizens could be imprisoned for simply possessing material that a government-appointed official deems ‘hateful.'”

“We should never be afraid of hearing different opinions. If we truly believe in our values, we should trust that they can hold up to scrutiny, even from those who think differently. We must always allow free speech and never silence it,” he said.

“The emergence of a government apparatus with the power to control the information environment represents a grave threat to free speech. It is time for all citizens to demand that their elected representatives reject this dangerous legislation, which is currently before the Seanad. We must stand up for free speech and prevent the government from imposing a regime of censorship and control,” concluded Collins.

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