Functions

The Commission has a broad statutory remit in relation to the protection and promotion of human rights and equality under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act, 2014

Overall Functions

Section 10 (1) of the Act sets out the overall functions of the Commission as:

  • to protect and promote human rights and equality,
  • to encourage the development of a culture of respect for human rights, equality, and intercultural understanding in the State,
  • to promote understanding and awareness of the importance of human rights and equality in the State,
  • to encourage good practice in intercultural relations, to promote tolerance and acceptance of diversity in the State and respect for the freedom and dignity of each person, and
  • to work towards the elimination of human rights abuses, discrimination and prohibited conduct.

Specific Functions

Section 10 (2) of the Act provides for specific functions that are intended to further the overall functions of the Commission as set out in section 10(1).  These include

  • to provide information to the public in relation to human rights and equality;
  • to keep under review the adequacy and effectiveness of law and practice in the State relating to the protection of human rights and equality;
  • to examine any legislative proposal and report its views on any implications for human rights or equality;
  • to make recommendations to the Government in relation to measures to strengthen, protect and uphold human rights and equality in the State;
  • to apply to the High Court or the Supreme Court for liberty to appear as amicus curiae in proceedings that involve or are concerned with the human rights or equality rights of any person;
  • to provide practical assistance, including legal assistance, to persons in vindicating their rights;
  • to institute proceedings in certain matters;
  • to consult with national, European Union or international bodies or agencies having a knowledge or expertise in the field of human rights or equality;
  • to be the body designated for the purposes of EU Directive 2014/54/EU on measures facilitating the exercise of rights conferred on workers in the context of freedom of movement for workers;
  • to undertake, sponsor, commission or provide financial or other assistance for research and educational activities;
  • to provide or assist in the provision of education and training on human rights and equality issues;
  • to undertake, sponsor, commission or provide financial or other assistance for programmes of activities and projects for the promotion of integration of migrants and other minorities, equality (including gender equality) and respect for diversity and cultural difference;
  • to carry out equality reviews and prepare equality action plans or to invite others to do so;
  • to assist public bodies in accordance with Section 42 of the Act which requires such  bodies, in the performance of their functions, to have regard to the need to: (a) eliminate discrimination; (b) promote equality of opportunity and treatment of its staff and the persons to whom it provides services; and (c) protect the human rights of its members, staff and the persons to it provides services;
  • to conduct inquiries in accordance with Section 35 of the Act where it considers that there is evidence of (i) a serious violation of human rights or equality of treatment obligations in respect of a person or class of persons, or (ii) a systemic failure to comply with human rights or equality of treatment obligations.;
  • to prepare and publish,  reports including reports on any research undertaken, sponsored, commissioned or assisted by it or in relations to inquiries carried out:
  • to participate in the Joint Committee with the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission in accordance with the Multi-Party Agreement annexed to the British-Irish Agreement (Belfast/Good Friday Agreement).