Sorry, a Chathaoirligh, you invited me to continue and that is what I was attempting to do. Among the questions raised was a particularly important technical question. It addresses the heart of the issue and was raised by Senator Brendan Ryan. I certainly, as a Senator, feel I am entitled to an explanation because a spurious case has been made and the spuriousness of this case has been demonstrated by Senator Ryan. If the intention of this legislation is simply to give effect to an international treaty, then that treaty should form part of the Bill. That is normal practice. It does not do that. So, the Minister's arguments or the arguments of his advisers, fall once again.
I would also like to raise a further question with regard to this. It seems we are dealing with a very important area. We are protecting against a hypothetical situation with regard to certain groups and so on. It is interesting that the two groups that I put down complete a trio. We are not long from the anniversary of Kristallnacht. We all know the sensitivities that were exposed on that occasion, the sensitivities of a community who will be specifically protected by this legislation on the basis of radical or ethnic minorities. I speak of the Jewish community. I am foolishly optimistic when I assume that the Minister and his advisers are aware that Nazi Germany has a specific legal policy discriminating against three groups in particular — Jewish, homosexual and gypsies, who are the equivalent of the travellers. Those are three groups linked historically as a prime target for fascist aggression and propaganda and incitement to hatred.
One of the reasons given for this Bill was to be able to inhibit publications for fascist groups in this country. Under this legislation we can do part of that but we quite clearly cannot do more than one-third of it. We can protect the Jewish community and it is right and proper that we should do so. We cannot protect the travelling people and we cannot protect the gay community. I remind the Minister of a very famous saying by a Germany citizen of repute, after the war: "When they came for the Jews, I did nothing and was silent. When they came for the homosexuals, I did nothing and was silent. When they came for the gypsies, I did nothing and was silent. When they came for me, there was nobody left to protest".
This is a situation in which the inadequate provisions of this Bill and the poor advice that is being received, place two-thirds of that trio. I ask urgently that something be done about it. I cannot, in logic, accept the Minister's bland statement that the kind of odious material to which the attention of the House is being drawn is covered by the criminal law. If it is, then the case of racial and religious minorities is also covered. These questions that I have put to the Minister have simply not been addressed at all.
On the question of legislation against discrimination with regard to prohibited acts — I am speaking here of verbal discrimination — public anti-homesexual insults are prohibited in Norway, Denmark, Greenland and Sweden. In the Netherlands it has been proposed to make such remarks illegal. In Belgium it has been proposed to make anti-homosexual insults in commercial advertising illegal. Anti-homosexual incitement to hatred, discrimination or violence is prohibited in Norway. It is also forbidden in France. In Belgium and the Netherlands it is currently proposed to extend the provisions of the law in this area. What is the problem here?
I have indicated clearly to the Minister and his advisers that from the obdurate refusal to take on board these amendments a clear indication will emerge to people, whether intended or not, that it is all right to attack the gay community. This may not be the Minister's intention but I am at the cutting edge of this and have been for a long time and I can tell the Minister what the impact of this debate will be. A refusal to take on board these amendments will lead to consequences. There is absolutely no point in locking the stable door after the horse has bolted. Suppose I am done to death. I have been the subject of a number of physical attacks, not just the bombing attacks which I referred to. I have been subjected to notices being placed on the Hirschfeld Centre and subjected to concrete blocks being thrown at the door of the Centre from time to time. I do not want to highlight these matters because I do not wish to appear paranoid and I do not want to give public encouragement to these crimes. Sometimes the more one speaks about these matters the more copycats one gets. I am very hesitant about doing this.
I have indicated to the Minister that these things have happened in the past and that there is a clear example of incitement. It will not be good enough, supposing somebody is killed — whether it be myself or somebody else — at that point hypocritically to introduce some measure of protection. It must be done now. It will be seen internationally, and I will make sure that it will be seen internationally, that a bad night's work has been done here tonight if there is not some acknowledgement. Various vise mediae have been proposed and examined. We will be putting down amendments on Report Stage to cover this area. The Minister has shown flexibility on other items but there has not been one atom of movement on this item and I must wonder why.