There has been a worrying increase in racism and xenophobia in our country in recent years, and we’ve seen some candidates who are prepared to exploit fear to win votes.
Today I signed the Anti-Racism Election Protocol promoted by the Irish Network Against Racism and committed the Labour Party to their principles.
Labour will maintain a zero-tolerance stance on racism and xenophobia. All of our candidates and elected representatives will be required to uphold the highest standards, not just of respect for diversity but active anti-racism. Similar standards will apply with respect to all the grounds of equality.
Under Labour, we will want the Department of Justice and Equality to enhance the national response to racism and other forms of discrimination and hate crime. Specifically, we will make hate crime illegal, such as racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia. The Gardaí will be tasked with keeping accurate statistics on hate crime, as is done in Northern Ireland.
Labour will also develop a stronger national LGBTI+ strategy, to focus on tackling hate crimes, discrimination in schools and workplaces and improving the mental and sexual health of LGBTI+ people. In addition, we will introduce a welcoming New Irish policy, similar to Scotland’s New Scots policy, which will formally recognise that being a member of Irish society is not about parentage or formal citizenship, but about being born in Ireland or choosing to make a long-term commitment to life in Ireland.
To combat the rise of toxic content on social media, Labour will introduce new safeguards to protect young people from abuse and discrimination, including online. Labour will continue to press for its Harassment and Harmful Communications Bill 2017 (“Coco’s Law”) to be enacted, to update the law to include harassment and bullying on the internet, mobile phones and social media.
Sport can be an arena to foster diversity, equality and inclusion. Labour will implement an ambitious strategy to save community grassroots football and to strenghten football’s role in social inclusion, with funding focusing on social inclusion, gender equality, anti-racism and integration.