Senator Rónán Mullen

Government ‘smuggling’ radical new definition of gender into Irish law with the ‘Hate Speech’ Bill

“at odds with all previous definitions and with no basis in reality”

Independent Senator Rónán Mullen has criticised the Minister for Justice for ‘smuggling’ a radical new definition of ‘gender’ into “an already controversial hate speech law’.

Speaking today, Senator Mullen said that there was considerable public unease about the threat to freedom of expression in the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred and Violence and Hate Offences Bill, which prohibits communication or behaviour that is “likely to incite hatred” but which doesn’t define ‘hatred’.

“Given the many controversial aspects of the Bill, it seems like the Government is smuggling a new definition of gender in the hope that it won’t get the scrutiny it needs,” Senator Mullen said.

“The danger is that concerned citizens, including parents and teachers of school-going children, may feel intimidated about expressing concern about radical new definitions of gender being pushed by the State and activist groups,” he says.

“The Government never consulted with the public about this.”

Senator Mullen says the Government’s new definition of ‘gender’ is one “at odds with all previous definitions and with no basis in reality”.

In a tweet series covering aspects of the Bill, which is due before the Seanad soon, Senator Mullen says:

“Since the foundation of the State, our legislation has always defined gender as binary, while referencing gender identity as something different.”

This new definition, Senator Mullen says, conflates gender with gender identity. “This is not an accidental mistake in draughtsmanship.”

Senator Mullen goes on to say the time-honoured, scientific binary definition of male and female will be replaced by a definition which recognises “at least 105 genders that are currently internet-listed by gender engaged organisations.”

The Bill defines ‘gender’ as “the gender of a person or the gender which a person expresses as the person’s preferred gender or with which the person identifies and includes transgender and a gender other than those of male and female.”

“It is reckless to include a new open-ended vague definition of gender in a criminal law bill,” Senator Mullen says. “If passed this Bill will have the effect of prioritising in criminal law the views of those who hold with gender novelty over those who accept the time-honoured definition of gender as being binary – that is male and female.”

“Will robust campaigning by parents with school-going children against inappropriate curricula be allowed in the future?” Senator Mullen asks.

He is calling for the Government to withdraw the Bill at this stage to allow for a full and proper re-drafting.


For more information contact Senator Rónán Mullen on 087 2446911 or 01 6183930.