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'The Government aren't willing to address the rise in disability hate crime'

That’s according to disability campaigner Frank Larkin.

AS IT STANDS there is no reference to disability hate crime in Irish legislation.

Disability campaigner and hate crime researcher, Frank Larkin, has presented his studies in the EU and is calling on the Irish Government to make disability hate crime an offence.

He says the legislation could very easily be changed but instead the legislators are “sitting on their hands“.

Larkin says, “There are no specific legal definitions of what disability hate crime is.

“There would also appear to be no real willingness on the part of the Government to address the rise in this type of crime and no urgency to put in place such legislation that would guard against it.”

A Justice Department spokesperson said, “Disability hate crime is part of the overall issue that is being considered in the examination initiated by the Minister of State.

Minister of State, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, chaired a round-table discussion on legislating for hate crime in Ireland last month. The Labour TD said, 

The 1989 Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act is not fit for purpose. We need to strive to live in a Republic free from hate crime and prejudicial targeting because of one’s ethnic background, sexual orientation, gender or disability.

The Justice Department said the outcome of the meeting was that “the University of Limerick Hate and Hostility Research Group agreed to conduct further research with a view to identifying practical solutions which can be brought to government in the form of legislative proposals.”

However, it failed to specifically address disability hate crime when asked.

A disability seminar organised by Bluebird Care will discuss the issue in Ennis in Clare on Wednesday November 19.

Operations Director with Bluebird Care, Eddie O’Toole said, “13% of Ireland’s population has a disability and we are cognizant of the needs of people who live with intellectual, sensory or physical disabilities.”

Read: A UK minister said it’s ‘not worth’ paying disabled people the minimum wage>

Read: 338 cars clamped in Dublin for parking in disabled space in first half of year>

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