We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Alamy Stock Photo

Government to legislate to disregard historic convictions of gay and bisexual men

The criminalisation of consensual sexual acts between men remained in place until 1993.

THE GOVERNMENT HAS announced it will legislate to disregard historic convictions for consensual sexual activity between men. 

The criminalisation of consensual sexual acts between men came into effect before the foundation of the State, and remained in place until decriminalisation in 1993.

Hundreds of gay men were charged in the 20th century under legislation that no longer exists. Homosexuality was decriminalised in Ireland on 24 June 1993.

Convictions for consensual sexual acts were rare in the years leading up to decriminalisation but were common up to and throughout the 1970s.

Research carried out by Professor Diarmaid Ferriter found that between 1940 and 1978 an average of 13 men a year were jailed for homosexual offences. Between 1962 and 1972, there were 455 convictions.

In 2018, the Government announced plans for a scheme to disregard the criminal records for offences, where the sexual acts involved would now be lawful.

In May 2022, the Department of Justice published the Working Group Progress Report, which contained a number of recommendations, including the need for targeted public consultation for affected persons and representative groups.

A public consultation on the scheme to disregard the historic convictions was launched last November. 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Justice Minister Helen McEntee today confirmed that the Government has received the final report of the working group. 

The report contained 95 recommendations regarding the introduction of a statutory scheme to enable the disregard of relevant criminal records, including recommendations on eligibility standards, the application process and the offences to be included in the scheme. 

McEntee will publish the report of the working group in the coming days. 

She will also consider the recommendations of the group in legislating for a statutory scheme to disregard relevant convictions. 

“Ireland has become a proud, progressive, and modern State. We have made great strides to promote equality and respond to the changing needs of a diverse population,” Varadkar said in a statement today. 

“However, we are not naive to think that LGBTQI+ people don’t continue to face significant barriers to full participation in public life,” he said.

“I am particularly pleased that we are now moving to disregard historic convictions for consensual sexual activity between men,” the Taoiseach said. 

Minister for Equality Roderic O’Gorman has also confirmed today that conversion therapy practices will carry a criminal offence under planned legislation.

The practice of ‘conversion therapy’ refers to any form of psychological intervention which aims to change a person’s sexual orientation. It is typically carried out in settings without qualified medical supervision.  

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel