Cashel native Colm Taylor the Tipperary Youth Officer and former President of Young Fine Gael, has called for a pardon and state apology for those who were convicted of homosexual acts prior to 1993, when the law was amended and homosexual acts were no longer a crime.
Taylor believes the Department of Justice and Equality should establish a scheme to allow those who were convicted of the specified abolished offences to apply to the Department to have these removed from their record and to receive a pardon from the state.
Taylor expanded his point and asked for 'a formal apology from the Minister for Justice and Equality on behalf of the Irish state for the prosecution of these offences since 1922'. Taylor stated: 'Sexual acts between men were criminalised in Ireland regardless of consent by various statutes, dating from 1634 to 1885, and remained an offence in Irish law until 1993. Decriminalisation was a very welcome step for civil rights in Ireland, however the legacy of criminalisation left a continuing injustice as those who had been convicted retained this fact on their record. These laws were a breach of the right to privacy and personal autonomy and those convicted should receive a pardon by law, and these offences should be removed and disregarded from their criminal record'. Taylor went on to further state; 'An apology and pardon is the right thing to do. I have friends and family who are gay, its time to show that to discriminate against any individual is wrong regardless of the circumstances'.
An on line petition has been set up by Fine Gael LGBT and YFG. Taylor urges everyone to sign it.