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Report on Dublin Rally for Free Speech

14 June 2023

Placards on the railings of Leinster House.

The Countess organised a picket on Leinster House in Dublin to coincide with the debate in the Seanad on the Hate Crime Bill which was passed by the Dáil.  About forty people were in attendance from The Countess and also other organisations.

The rally was addressed by four speakers.  The first was Helen Joyce, author of Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality, who was due to the address the Seanad on the issue.  Her concern in speaking to the Seanad and also her concern at the rally was that this new Bill if passed will make Gender Critical speech a thought crime.  She pointed out the weaknesses in the Bill and finished off by saying somethings that will be illegal in Ireland once this bill is passed.  Men are not women.

The next speaker was Anne Conway, a lifelong activist, Marxist and feminist.  She reminded Sinn Féin who voted for the bill in the Dáil that James Connolly and the men and women of 1916 fought for a free country with equality, not women being erased in legislation.  She spoke of her own personal experience of being drummed out of the National Maternity Hospital Campaign which sought to stop the new hospital from being handed over to a religious order with a history of abuse of women and children.  She was drummed out because she dared use the word woman.

The next speaker was Gearóid Ó Loingsigh who spoke about the fact that the Gardaí could search your computer and ill-defined documents could be used as evidence of an ill-defined thought crime and that once passed, we have no idea where it will stop, what other crimes may eventually be punished on the basis of documents.  He spoke about how in Colombia social leaders are frequently framed for rebellion on the basis of legal texts they possess such as the Communist Manifesto and even in some cases official government human rights reports.  He also criticised Sinn Féin on the Bill, asking whether they thought that their position on Palestine will never be considered hate speech by some.

The last speaker was Laoise de Brún founder and head of The Countess.  Laoise gave an overview of what the Bill actually says and what the problems with it were and there are quite a number of problems with it, lack of clarity, a lack of definition of what hate actually means.  She finished up thanking everyone for coming.  There are other initiatives afoot from The Countess.

It was clear to all the speakers that one of the first targets of this bill will be Gender Critical Feminists and women who dare demand same sex spaces for themselves and their children.

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