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Friday, 6th May 2022

Historic convictions of gay and bisexual men must be set aside - Nash

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Labour TD Ged Nash.

Labour TD Ged Nash has welcomed the publication of a progress report by the Working Group established to examine how gay and bisexual men who received criminal convictions for consensual same-sex activities before the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1993 ought to be exonerated and have their convictions expunged from the record.

This process was instigated by Deputy Nash in 2016 with the introduction of his Conviction for Certain Offences (Apology & Exoneration) Bill.

Deputy Nash said: “The first step in the process was the historic apology delivered in both Houses of the Oireachtas in 2018. This marked the 25th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality.

“The second step as outlined in the Labour Party Bill was the delivery of a process that would ultimately result in the setting aside of pre-1993 convictions and the full exoneration of men who were prosecuted for engaging in consensual same-sex activities.

“For much of the history of this State, Ireland was a cold and harsh place for the LGBTI+ community. We have made progress but nothing we do now will ever fully address the damage our pre-1993 laws, and the social and cultural conditions in which they existed, did to gay and bisexual men and other LGBTI+ citizens.

“If we are to achieve a more equal, tolerant and inclusive Republic we must come to terms with our past and have a reckoning with it. I welcome the publication of today’s report. It is important that we get the process right and that it is fair, just and imbued with a human rights-centred approach.

“Today we are an important step closer to making peace with those men whose only ‘crime’ was their sexual orientation. I would urge everyone who can to share their real-life experiences with the working group and contribute to this important process.”

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