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Ireland gets its own bill to pardon thousands of men convicted of historic gay sex crimes

Joseph McCormick February 2, 2017

The Republic of Ireland could soon pardon men convicted of historic gay sex offences from before the decriminalisaion of homosexuality in 1993.

A day after thousands of men in England and Wales were posthumously pardoned after an amendment to a Bill enabled the move, a bill was introduced in the Irish Seanad.

It is estimated that some 2,000 men could have been convicted under the now defunct law.

The bill was introduced by the Labour Party which said the convictions of gay and bisexual men before 1993 were “discriminatory, contrary to dignity and in breach of personal privacy and autonomy”.

The party’s equality spokesman Senator Ged Nash, who is leading on the move, said the bill would represent “an important landmark in our society”.

Continuing, he said: “Where the Labour Party sees injustice, whether it’s at home or abroad, we always fight it.

“This week, the Labour Party Senate Group is introducing a Bill which essentially is an apology to and exoneration of those who were found guilty of certain sexual offences pre the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1993.

“We believe this particular apology and exoneration is an important step forward – it’s an important reckoning with our past.”

The Senator said the bill would not only do right past injustices against men who have sex with men, but was an important step away from “draconian laws”.

The Irish Mirror reports that he said: “What it won’t do is undo the cruelty that was visited upon large cohorts of our society since the foundation of the State, as a result of very draconian laws the State enforced, that we inherited from Britain.

“We think this is an important step in terms of reckoning with our past and moving on.

“It won’t undo that damage but I think it’s a very important step the Labour Party will make on behalf of the State. We’re hope the Government will accept this legislation when it’s debated in the Seanad.”

The move came after thousands of men convicted of historic gay sex offences were pardoned under Turing’s Law, as promised by the UK Government.

The Policing and Crime Bill was earlier this week given Royal Assent, meaning amendments pardoning those convicted of being in consensual same-sex relationships.

More: ged nash

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