Labour seeks State apology for those criminalised for being gay

Labour has called on the Taoiseach to apologise on behalf of the State to gay and lesbian people who were jailed and criminalised in Ireland under “chilling” laws before 1993.

Senators Ged Nash and Ivana Bacik made the request as they launched an opposition bill seeking to “address the historic wrong by the State”.

Until 1993, homosexuality was illegal in Ireland, with roughly 2,000 people brought before the courts under the controversial rules over the first seven decades of Irish independence.

Speaking to reporters outside the Dáil, Labour’s equality spokesperson Mr Nash said the reality is these people have never received a formal apology for what happened.

He added that while Enda Kenny was not responsible for the situation he, as sitting Taoiseach, should apologise on the State’s behalf.

“We’ve come a long way in the last 23 years since homosexuality was decriminalised, but we still have a long way to go,” he said.

“What we’re trying to do here is address an historic wrong that was committed through the State.

“Nobody can remove the wrongs, but this is a very important gesture. There are a considerable number of LGBT citizens who haven’t been able to live and love in the climate we have in Ireland today.

“There are probably a couple of thousand, many who are still alive and some who sadly are not.”

Both senators said they are “anxious” to receive all-party backing to the apology plan, which is outlined in the Conviction for Certain Sexual Offences (Apology and Exoneration) Bill 2016.

While admitting they have yet to receive confirmation of formal support for the bill, published yesterday, they do not believe any rival party is likely to be opposed to the move.


Lifestyle

Helen O’Callaghan on the dangers of products high in caffeine.The dangers of energy drinks full of sugar

When bride-to-be Alma Clohessy enlisted her mother Rita’s help in planning her wedding, they made the most of every precious moment together.Wedding of the Week: 'It was the best, yet most emotional day of my life'

As you may be aware, new rules around motor insurance documentation have been introduced. The rules are aimed at improving transparency for consumers but a broker is warning they may have unintended consequences and could cause some confusion among policy holders.Drive a hard bargain for better car insurance

When Peter Ryan lost 90% of his vision in his early 20s, his readjustment was emotionally painful, but maturing, says Helen O’CallaghanA new way of seeing the world: Peter Ryan talks about losing 90% of his sight in his early 20s

More From The Irish Examiner