A Donegal disability campaigner is calling for legislation to be introduced to deal with disability hate crime.
Letterkenny man Frank Larkin was speaking ahead of a six-day conference on hate crime that he is to attend next week in Budapest.
Mr. Larkin, who is wheelchair bound, is one of 20 participants from 14 different European countries who were chosen from 60 applicants from a range of different backgrounds of groups affected by hate crime.
His attendance at the conference comes on the back of research into hate crime that he has been carrying out in recent years.
He said he will be compiling a report on the conference and feeding back to relevant disability organisations and also to the Gardaí.
People with disability in Ireland are the victims of hate crime but the difficulty is that there is no legislation to deal with it and it is difficult to define, he said. Some people are victims of disability hate crime without knowing it, Mr Larkin added.
“My hope is to bring information back which will change the way that Disability Hate Crime is viewed by the powers that be in this country,” he said.
“The problem is that there is evidence anecdotally but nowhere from local Garda stations to department of justice, no where along that chain including voluntary organisations or community groups, no where keeps statistics on disability hate crime and there is no definition of what disability hate crime is.”
“I would hope what will come out of it is that the powers that be, the politicians, will step up to the mark and deal with it and I hope my findings will help them to do that,” he said.