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“What we do is restrict freedoms”

– Irish Green Party Chairperson Senator Pauline O’Reilly, speaking on Tuesday, 13 Jun 2023 in the Seanad Éireann debate on the second stage of Ireland’s Criminal Justice (Incitement to Violence or Hatred and Hate Offences) Bill 2022.

I transcribed the words she speaks in the clip as follows:

“When you think about it, all law, all legislation is about the restriction of freedom. That’s exactly what we are doing here, is we are restricting freedom but we are doing it for the common good. You will see that throughout our Constitution, yes, you have rights but they are restricted for the common good.

Everything needs to be balanced. If your views on other people’s identities go to make their lives unsafe, insecure and cause them such deep discomfort that they cannot live in peace, then I believe that it is our job as legislators to restrict those freedoms for the common good.”

The official record of the whole debate can be read here. Note that, just as Hansard does for speakers in the UK parliament, the Official Report of the Oireachtas presents a slightly cleaned up version of what was actually said, though not enough to change the meaning.

According to that record, just after that clip ended she made another remark which I think needs to gain wider publicity:

One cannot do and say whatever one likes in our society, which is a society governed by laws. This is very fundamental to a legislative system. It should be one of the very fundamentals for any legislators who sit in this Chamber that they understand what we do is restrict freedoms.

Senator O’Reilly is wrong by every moral measure – but on that factual point she is not wrong.

18 comments to “What we do is restrict freedoms”

  • jgh

    The view that there are 93 genders causes me discomfort. ARREST THE BIGOT|!”!!!!

  • Steven R

    Politicians really need to start fearing the people.

  • Kirk

    @Steven R,

    Politicians really need to start fearing the people.

    Pretty much. The Dutch once ate a prime minister…

    Not saying that’s a solution, or just, or even very nice, but… It did happen. Could well happen again, the rate things are going in the Netherlands.

    Hell, I’m hearing things around me here in the US that make me wonder if we’re not too far off something very like that happening. People I’d have never pinned as being at all likely to radicalize are doing so, and in surprising ways.

  • Zerren Yeoville

    Not living in Ireland, I assume I am still just about free enough at the present time to quote the following in response:

    “When “the common good” of a society is regarded as something apart from and superior to the individual good of its members, it means that the good of some men takes precedence over the good of others, with those others consigned to the status of sacrificial animals. It is tacitly assumed, in such cases, that “the common good” means “the good of the majority” as against the minority or the individual. Observe the significant fact that that assumption is tacit: even the most collectivized mentalities seem to sense the impossibility of justifying it morally. But “the good of the majority,” too, is only a pretense and a delusion: since, in fact, the violation of an individual’s rights means the abrogation of all rights, it delivers the helpless majority into the power of any gang that proclaims itself to be “the voice of society” and proceeds to rule by means of physical force, until deposed by another gang employing the same means.” – Ayn Rand

  • Fraser Orr

    I have often found that people who want to shut down or criminalize discussion on a subject do so because they don’t think they can win the argument on its merits alone.

  • Snorri Godhi

    All what this means to me, is that the (xxi century) Irish diet causes brain damage.

    Related: Unfettered free speech actually increases tolerance, Glenn Reynolds argues.

  • Fraser Orr

    I listened to this woman again. She said that censorship is justified if your views cause someone to feel “unsafe, insecure and cause them such deep discomfort that they cannot live in peace”… I was also listening to Riley Gaines, the University of Kentucky swimmer who was forced to compete against Lia Thomas, when she today testify in congress. She described how she, as a woman, was forced to have an intact man change in the same locker room as her, so much that some of the girls felt the need to get changed in the janitor’s closet. I suspect that those girls most definitely felt, unsafe, insecure and it caused them deep discomfort.

  • Kirk

    Having taken the time to watch this woman at work, and then ruminating on the whole thing?

    I have to point out that this is yet another waypoint along the path demonstrating that the Irish should not ever be allowed to govern themselves. They’re natural slaves, pre-serfing themselves for their masters.

    Not sure why they bothered rebelling against the English, TBH. Why was all that effort wasted, only to have creatures like this run the place a few generations on?

    I’m not sure that they’re smart enough to recognize what they’re doing here. Which doesn’t really surprise me… The best of Ireland read the writing on the wall generations ago and emigrated. The remnants aren’t anything I’d want to claim as kin.

    And, yes… I’m Scots-Irish in ethnicity. I recognize nothing of myself in the modern politics of either ethnicity, and in fact, am embarrassed by what is going on in both of them.

  • To steal Mary McCarthy’s line, every word Pauline O’Reilly says is hate speech, including “and” and “the”.

  • Van_Patten

    I know that every Member of this House recognises that hate speech and hate crime cause untold trauma for victims, their communities and our broader society. In fact, research shows that victims of hate crimes suffer significantly more distress than victims of other crimes. Such crimes are completely reprehensible and unacceptable. Yet, hate-based offences have become increasingly common in recent years. It often feels as though we take two steps forward and one step back.

    I don’t know about you but to me this is arguably even more disturbing than the deranged rantings of the Greens. Anyone with even a passing acquaintance with the activities of Caroline Lucas in the UK or the Scottish Greens will know that they are totalitarians of a particularly vicious bent. However, what this minister is saying is that across the entire political spectrum people are comfortable with the notion that ‘hate crimes’ are a valid concept and cause for a differing degree of enforcement in sentencing. Almost every social ill Ireland and the Western World suffer from springs from this false assumption.

    ‘All people are equal, but some are more equal than others

  • Van_Patten

    Apologies for second post but having not really been overly familiar with Irish politics since the Varadarkar regime effectively turned it into a vassal state, I was heartened by the contribution in the linked record of the debate by Senator Ronan Mullen – reading his biography, an ‘independent pro – lifer’ – how long before the likes of Senator O’Reilly (The worst but by no means the only contributor who should ideally be mandatorily deselected) ‘restrict his freedom’ more permanently, along the lines of the fashion the Government in Germany sought to do in the 1930s?

  • Paul Marks.

    Watermelons – Green on the inside, Red on the inside.

    They have never really been about “the environment” or “nature” – they have always been about power-and-control.

    Freedom of Speech – as long as you agree with the left, no freedom if you disagree.

    Freedom of choice – as long as you do what the left wants you to do, no freedom if you disagree.

    Such terms as “Climate Justice” give the game way – it is totalitarian (tyranny and plundering) “Social Justice”, they just use another name for the same thing.

    The problem is that the two big “mainstream” parties in the Republic of Ireland are on the same “Modernist” page as the Greens.

    As is some of the Catholic Church (some – there is a war going on inside the Catholic Church) – for many years people of a certain sexual inclination have been encouraged to infiltrate the priesthood (there was a Soviet backed campaign to do that as long ago as the 1920s), in order to undermine it from within – and a lot of young boys have paid a terrible price for that, in many countries.

    The above paragraph is the sort of thing the new law proposes to ban – not ban the practice, ban telling people about what has happened (and is happening).

  • Stonyground

    Absolutely. Using the law to prevent people from pointing out that you are wrong is the kind of thing that only someone who is wrong would need to do.

  • Stonyground

    “…hate-based offences have become increasingly common in recent years.”

    Identifying simple differences of opinion as a ‘hate based offence’ has become increasingly common. That is the only thing that has changed.

  • Michael Taylor

    Good work from a substack writer called eugyppius;

    “There is an eagerness to confine human variation to those areas of least concern to the institutional apparatus, and thus to “celebrate,” or actively promote, all those diversities which are of least consequence to the administrative ideal. Modern states actually want highly uniform, undifferentiated populations, and they hope to confine personal expression to sexual, ethnic and consumerist spheres.”

  • Paul Marks.

    Any dissenting opinion, or even historical information that the left does not like (see my first comment) is “Hate Speech”.

  • Paul Marks.

    sonny wayz

    Of course, the “denialism” is THE TRUTH – which is why the lady, and the Canadian regime she represents, hate it.

    The children were not murdered, they died of diseases that were untreatable at the time. The graves were not “unmarked” – they were marked by wooden grave markers (standard practice in these areas) which decayed over time.

    And as for being a “racist enterprise” – the residential schools were explicitly ANTI racist – indeed the very terms “racist” and “anti racist” were coined in the 19th century to describe the two sides in the debate on residential schools.

    The anti racist position being to support (not oppose) the Residential Schools – the racist position being that the schools were pointless as the Indian (now “First Nation”) children were born inherently savage and could not be anything else.

    The government lady says that she opposes being objective and impartial – she openly admits that she is not interested in finding the truth – that she is only interested in persecuting people who disagree with her cult-like beliefs. Well there we are – at least she is open about being the lunatic that she is.

    There is a similar reversal of the truth on the terms “Orientalism” and “Orientalism” – the late Edward Said (who lied about everything, including his own life) pretended that such terms implied hostility to oriental cultures – this was the exact opposite of the truth, as it was precisely the “Orientalists” who argued that eastern cultures had value, and their opponents who argued that eastern cultures did not have value.