Irish Govt called on to ditch controversial ‘hate’ Bill amid referendum fallout

Ireland’s former Minister for Defence has called for the controversial ‘hate speech’ Bill to be ditched as he criticised his own party for “playing to the woke gallery”.

Fianna Fáil TD Willie O’Dea urged the Minister for Justice, Fine Gael’s Helen McEntee, to focus more on the country’s “horrendous” law and order problems than “preventing hate crime”.

Fine Gael, led by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, are in coalition with Fianna Fáil and the Greens.

Landslide defeat

Mr O’Dea made the comments in the wake of landslide defeats for the coalition’s plans to change the Irish Constitution to downgrade marriage and motherhood.

The family amendment, promoting “durable relationships” as equal to marriage, was rejected by 67.69% of voters, and 73.93% of people voted down the care amendment on ending the State’s commitment to stay-at-home mums.

The former Minister revealed that he couldn’t “conscientiously” vote in favour of the Government’s proposals, which he said had a “smack of virtue signalling”.


Deputy O’Dea said “people were confused as to why when the country had so many problems to be getting on with in relation to lack of housing, healthcare and law and order why the Government were diverting time and energy on these referenda for which there were no popular demand”.

Posting on X, he called on his party “to get back to basics & abandon the Hate Speech Bill etc. Focus on Housing, Health and Law & Order and stop playing to the woke gallery.

“Start listening to the people, stop talking down to them and stop listening to the out of touch Greens & NGOs”.

Meanwhile an unnamed Fine Gael figure said: “Leo and his crew will face a total revolt if they try to push through legislation on issues like assisted suicide. That will not pass, and Leo needs to know that.”


Last month, Independent Senator Rónán Mullen warned that Ireland’s hate crime proposals will restrict free speech and criminalise ordinary people for expressing unpopular views.

The Criminal Justice (Incitement to Violence or Hatred and Hate Offences) Bill, which is currently being considered by the Seanad, is set to significantly expand and replace existing hate crime legislation in Ireland.

It includes a new offence of inciting hatred against others based on their protected characteristics such as gender – including ‘genders’ “other than those of male and female”. The offence carries a potential five-year prison sentence.

Speaking on The Tonight Show, Mullen warned that the legislation is far too broad and lacks clarity in key areas, which could lead to people censoring themselves for fear of prosecution.

Wider fallout

Equalities Minister Roderic O’Gorman has also received scathing criticism from coalition colleagues, with one senior Fine Gael figure warning that the Green Party Minister “leaves a trail of destruction everywhere”.

O’Gorman was a leading voice in the Government for the ‘Yes/Yes’ campaign. He is also currently championing a ban on so-called conversion therapy that risks criminalising the ordinary work of churches, and parents who refuse to allow their gender-confused child to access puberty blockers.

The main opposition party, Sinn Fein, which also backed the Yes/Yes campaign, has rowed back on a pledge from leader Mary Lou McDonald to re-run the referendums if they did not pass.

Speaking to Newstalk radio, Matt Carthy TD said: “I can tell you, we will not be re-running this referendum at any stage in the next Government.”

Also see:

‘Dismantling Ireland’s 3-day abortion wait will see more babies killed’

Irish voters give resounding ‘No’ to downgrading marriage and motherhood

‘Women betrayed’ as Republic of Ireland aborts almost 10,000 babies

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