Norman Tebbit asks Her Majesty’s Government whether they regard celebrations of Irish republican violence during Easter 1916 as a glorification of terrorism. The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal) replies – see what you make of it:
Section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2006, which came into force on 13 April 2006, creates an offence of encouragement of terrorism including glorification of the commission or preparation of acts of terrorism. Section 1 contains a number of safeguards relating to this offence. For the offence to be committed, it requires a person who publishes a statement to intend it to be understood as encouraging others to commit terrorist acts or to be reckless as to whether it will be understood in that way; it requires that the statement is likely to be understood by people to whom it is directed as encouragement to them to carry out acts of terrorism; and it requires that what is being glorified is capable of being emulated in current circumstances. Prosecutions are a matter for the police and the prosecuting authorities and much depends on the specific circumstances of each case.
Gary Kent is a graduate of international relations. After spells in management in British Rail and the Co-Op he began work in parliament in 1987 where he was active for two decades on Anglo-Irish peace activity against terrorism and now as secretary of the all-party parliamentary group on the Kurdistan Region in Iraq, which he has visited 27 times since 2006. He used to be a columnist for Fortnight Magazine and writes a regular column for the Kurdish Rudaw outlet and many other publications.