On 1 March 2021, the Minister of Justice approved the establishment of the Working Group to Examine the Disregard of Convictions for Certain Qualifying Offences Related to Consensual Sexual Activity between Men. The Working Group has identified a number of key issues that would benefit from a targeted public consultation so as to inform the final recommendations of the Group.
What this is about
The criminalisation of consensual sexual acts between men in Ireland came into effect prior to the foundation of the State and remained in place until its eventual decriminalisation in 1993. This criminalisation is now widely recognised as an affront to human dignity and a significant historic injustice.
In 2018, the Government announced plans to bring forward proposals for a scheme to enable the expungement (or disregard) of criminal records for qualifying offences, where the sexual acts involved would now be lawful. A Working Group was established consisting of representatives from the Department of Justice, An Garda Síochána, the Office of the Attorney General, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) and individuals from the LGBT community with expertise in this area to examine how this could be progressed.
In May 2022, the Department of Justice published the Progress Report of the Working Group
, which contained a number of recommendations. One of the recommendations was that a targeted public consultation should be undertaken to provide an opportunity for affected persons and representative groups to engage on some of the key questions related to the development of the disregard scheme.
In line with this recommendation, the Department of Justice has launched this Public Consultation.
What we are asking you to do
We are asking representative organisations and affected persons to provide input, based on their lived experience, on a number of key issues identified by the Working Group.
What will happen to what you say
The responses received in relation to this survey will inform the Working Group’s final deliberations and help shape their final recommendations to the Minister for Justice for the development of a scheme to disregard qualifying offences related to consensual sexual activity between men. Your participation is essential to ensuring robust policy decisions and implementation.
Your submissions will be dealt with as follows:
Online Survey responses are automatically submitted upon completion to the Department of Justice. You will receive a closing message confirming that your submission has been successful.
For email submissions you should expect to receive an acknowledgement of receipt within 3 working days.
Your submission will then be reviewed by the Working Group and will form part of the Working Group’s consideration of the key issues. This will ultimately inform the final report and recommendations of the Working Group to the Minister for Justice on the development of a scheme to disregard convictions for certain qualifying offences related to consensual sexual activity between men.
Following the close of the Consultation the Working Group will prepare a Consultation Summary Report which will provide an overview of the submissions received, identifying key themes and input for consideration by the Working Group.
The Working Group reserves the right not to accept your submission, this may occur if your submission does not relate to the remit of the Working Group. The Working Group is not obliged to publish any part of your submission.
Please note that all submissions received will be subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2014
and may also be published as part of any final reporting. Any personal data submitted as part of the consultation process will be treated in accordance with the requirements of the GDPR and the Data Protection Acts 1998 - 2018
Each submission will be dealt with as sensitively as possible with recognition of the fact that this process may be difficult for affected persons, their families, friends and the wider LGBTQI community. Should you have any concerns in this regard, or in relation to confidentiality, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
By post to: Disregard Team, Strategic Policy, Planning and Research, Criminal Justice, Department of Justice, 51 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, D02 HK52, Ireland.
Please note that you do not need to answer all consultation questions. Each question is optional, you can skip any questions that may not be relevant to you and the submission will still be accepted. Templates are available below to assist written submissions.
Any further queries about this consultation process can be submitted to the following contact address: email@example.com