1 in 4 Irish worried about losing right to free speech

Posted on: June 20, 2024

Country: Ireland

New polling by Whitestone Insight commissioned by ADF International reveals that a quarter of Irish people feel they can’t speak freely in social settings, like in a pub, or in their place of work or study. The same number of people are concerned about losing their right to free speech. Furthermore, 90% of Irish people said they think freedom of speech is "very important".

A draft hate speech bill is currently being discussed in the Irish parliament. This draft law is considered the most extreme hate speech law in Europe. The text of the bill makes the possession of material considered 'hateful' against certain groups a crime punishable with jail, and the burden of proof is shifted to the accused, who is expected to prove they didn't intend to use the material to "spread hate" (OIDAC reported).
It is feared this legislation, if passed, could lead to the prosecution of Christians who express their religious views on societal issues and have a stiffling effect on free speech, including religious speech, in the country. 

Read the survey

Read ADF International's Press Release