According to constitutional scholar and Georgetown Law School professor Jonathan Turley, the Irish legislators want to criminalize the possession of so-called "hateful materials" -- that is, materials that are simply deemed hateful by left-wing government bureaucrats.
After noting the conviction of a man in Britain for possessing “toxic ideology," Turley wrote on his blog, "Ireland appears ready to replicate that case a thousandfold."
"The proposed Criminal Justice (Incitement to Violence or Hatred and Hate Offences) Bill 2022 would criminalize the possession of material deemed hateful. It is a full frontal assault on speech and associational rights," he noted further. "The law would allow for sweeping authoritarian measures in defining opposing viewpoints hateful. Ireland appears to be picking up the cudgel of speech criminalization from Britain, an abusive power once used against the Irish."
After describing the law as a "free speech nightmare," Turley goes on to list provisions of it that are particularly problematic for freedom lovers, noting that before the legislation even addresses the "possession of harmful material," the statute would "provide for an offense of condoning, denying or grossly trivializing genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes against peace.” In other words, you could not be a Russian citizen living in Ireland and justify President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine because that could be determined to be a 'crime against peace.'
Such crimes "would make most autocrats blush," Turley argued, adding that because there is no real meaningful definition of what constitutes such 'trivialization' that provision would most assuredly invite "arbitrary enforcement." The law prof went on to cite another passage in the bill that says its intent is to combat "forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law.”
In the U.S., that would give leftists carte blanche to prosecute any white American who, say, complained about the inordinate amount of minorities portrayed these days on TV -- in commercials and regular programming -- versus the dramatic decline in portrayals by whites, though ethnic whites comprise around 58 percent of the population of the U.S.
"What is so striking about the law is how utterly unapologetic it is in the use of criminal law to curtail not just free speech but free thought," Turley continues. "It allows for the prosecution of citizens for 'preparing or possessing material likely to incite violence or hatred against persons on account of their protected characteristics.' That could sweep deeply into not just political but literary expression."
He also noted that Lockdown Ireland suffered oppression under British rule, making it even more head-scratching as to why Irish legislators would adopt such an authoritarian measure.
"The interest of the Irish in assuming such authoritarian measures is chilling given their own history under British rule, including violent crackdowns on nonviolent protests like 'Bloody Sunday.' Free speech is now in a free fall in Great Britain and Ireland appears eager to follow suit," he argued.
After providing several linked examples of how free speech has been steadily declining throughout Great Britain in recent years, Turley noted that once governments begin criminalizing speech, then censorship is not going to be far behind.
He further explained: "Under this pernicious law, a judge can order the search of a home based solely on a police officer’s sworn statement that he or she has “reasonable” grounds to believe illegal material may be present in a person’s home.
"Again, the embrace of such laws by the Irish is crushingly ironic. Frank Ryan, who fought against the treaty, spoke for many radicals in declaring 'as long as we have fists and boots, there will be no free speech for traitors,'" he continued. "Those anti-Treaty forces rejected the views of free speech that long defined Western nations. Now, Ireland is declaring 'no free speech for haters' and assumes the authority to define who are haters and who are not."