Hate speech bill is ‘restrictive and undemocratic’ warns barrister

A barrister has claimed that the Government’s controversial hate speech bill could leave religious groups open to accusations of hate speech, and may also cause problems for people critical of gender ideology and abortion.

Grace Sullivan also warned that people may not find out how detrimental the Government’s new bill could be to their freedom of speech, until after the law has passed.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, Ms Sullivan said that while the proposed bill will create an offence to “incite hatred” against an individual or a group on account of “certain protected characteristics” — nonetheless “there is no clear definition of what ‘inciting hatred’ means”.

There is also no requirement that comments are seen to be likely to cause physical harm to another person.

One of the protected characteristics in the bill is ‘gender’ which is defined in terms of radical new gender theory.

“One could conceive of disagreements with this very definition of gender,” she said. “Certainly a diverse number of religious groups would disagree with this definition.”