The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission has called for greater urgency and prioritisation by the State to eliminate racism and racial discrimination in Ireland.

It is part of a submission by the IHREC to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, following recommendations made by the UN in 2019.

The IHREC said there have been "progressive developments" in the last three years, such as the establishment of an Anti-Racism Committee and legislative proposals to address incitement to hatred and hate crime in Ireland.

However, in its submission it stresses the need for the upcoming Criminal Justice (Hate Crime) Bill and the proposed Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill to be closely aligned.

Today is International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which has led the commission to publish its recommendations on the General Scheme of the Hate Crime Bill.

It has called for clarity and consistency in the definition of terms relating to hate crime, such as hatred, harm, and unlawful discrimination, as well as hostility and incitement.

The definition of "harmful online content" also needs to be clear and sufficiently precise in proposed Online Safety laws according to the IHREC, including about online hate speech and content inciting violence or hatred against protected groups.

It said terms relating to hate speech, such as racism, should be clearly defined in law.

IHREC Chief Commissioner Sinéad Gibney said racist hate crime and hate speech need to be tackled head-on.

She said if they are not challenged, they will "send a wider poisonous message that some individuals or groups do not belong and can therefore be mistreated with impunity".