From top: Senator David Norris and Senator Ivana Bacik
During Order of Business in the Seanad.
Senators Ivana Bacik and David Norris commented on reports from earlier this week about a 65-year-old Meath man who was the first person to be convicted under a new law which criminalises the purchase of sex from a sex worker.
Senator Bacik welcomed the conviction, Senator Norris didn’t.
From their contributions to the Seanad…
Ivana Bacik: “I express my satisfaction on seeing the first conviction reported today under the Swedish or Nordic model. My dear friend and colleague, Senator Norris, will not agree with me.”
David Norris: “I do not.”
Bacik: “We are seeing the new law on prostitution being enforced and coming into effect.”
Norris: “It is a disgrace.”
Bacik: “I commend gardaí for their work on it.”
Norris: “It is utter hypocrisy.”
Norris: “I completely disagree with my colleague, Senator Bacik. I do not how anybody can be pleased about the prospect of a lonely 65-year-old man, coming from a deprived area of Dublin, being named and fined in court. It seems to me that this is rank and smug hypocrisy.
“I remember during the debate here, it flew in the face of all the academic research produced by Queen’s University, Belfast, which I put on the record. I urge anybody who wants to see that research and to know the truth about this matter to read the debate where I put these facts on the record.
Bacik: “Highly contested.”
Norris: “What was highly contested was the rubbish the Senator produced from Sweden.”
Following the conviction, the Sex Workers’ Alliance Ireland group tweeted its thoughts on the matter – and highlighted that one implication of the new law is that it’s forcing sex workers to work alone, thus increasing their vulnerability: