The Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD, has today launched a public consultation that will inform the development of a scheme to disregard historic convictions related to consensual sexual activity between men.
Affected persons and representative organisations are being asked to provide input on a number of key issues, based on their lived experience. Their responses will inform the final recommendations of a Working Group who are examining the development of a scheme of disregard convictions for consensual sexual activity between men prior to decriminalisation in 1993.
Minister McEntee said:
“We want to ensure that any potential scheme is as effective and accessible as possible so that we can exonerate those impacted by these outdated laws and address some of the lingering harms of the past.
I would encourage any of the affected men, their families, loved ones and the wider LGBTQ+ community to engage with this consultation so that we can be mindful of their unique perspectives as we move forward.”
The consultation survey will consist of seven questions, based on key issues identified by the Working Group that would benefit from stakeholder input. The survey will ask how a potential scheme could be made more accessible, how to encourage participation in the scheme and how to minimise potential for re-traumatising applicants, amongst other issues.
The deadline for completion of the survey is 5pm on Friday 9 December 2022.
Following the close of the consultation, the Working Group will prepare a summary report which will give an overview of the submissions received, identifying key themes that will inform the final recommendations of the Working Group.
Minister McEntee added:
“The damage that was caused by these laws continues to impact negatively on too many people’s lives.
While we cannot undo the hurt inflicted on people who were discriminated against for simply being themselves, we can contribute to the healing process.
Both the Programme for Government and my Justice Plans commit to putting in place a scheme to disregard the convictions of people convicted of consensual same-sex activity prior to decriminalisation .
This consultation is another important step on that journey towards meeting those commitments, and to addressing the individual harm that was done to generations of gay and bisexual men, while also showing that we are willing to re-visit and confront uncomfortable aspects of our past.”
Notes for Editors
Detailed information on the public consultation can be accessed here:
How to participate in this consultation survey
- By taking the online survey here
- By email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- By post to: Disregard Team, Strategic Policy, Planning and Research, Criminal Justice, Department of Justice, 51 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, D02 HK52, Ireland.
Any further queries about this consultation process can be submitted to the following contact address: email@example.com .
The deadline for completion of the survey is 5pm on Friday 9 December 2022 .
The criminalisation of consensual sexual acts between men in Ireland came into effect prior to the foundation of the State and remained in place until its eventual decriminalisation in 1993. This criminalisation is now widely recognised as an affront to human dignity and a significant historic injustice.
In 2018, the Government announced plans to bring forward proposals for a scheme to enable the expungement (or disregard) of criminal records for qualifying offences, where the sexual acts involved would now be lawful. A Working Group was established consisting of representatives from the Department of Justice, An Garda Síochána, the Office of the Attorney General, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) and individuals from the LGBT community with expertise in this area to examine how this could be progressed.
In May 2022, the Department of Justice published the Working Group Progress Report , which contained a number of recommendations. One of the recommendations was that a targeted public consultation should be undertaken to provide an opportunity for affected persons and representative groups to engage on some of the key questions related to the development of the disregard scheme.
In line with this recommendation, the Department of Justice has launched this Public Consultation.