Commission Notes Supreme Court Decision to Dismiss Case Focused on Access to Care Allowance

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (‘the Commission’) has noted today’s Supreme Court ruling in the case of Donnelly v. Minister for Social Protection & Ireland.

Today’s Supreme Court ruling dismissed a challenge, brought under Article 40.1 of the Constitution and Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, to a decision of the Minister of Social Protection and to certain provisions of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005.

The case examined a situation where a father was deemed ineligible for Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA), while his severely disabled child was resident in hospital for periods of time that were longer than specified in the legislation providing for the allowance.

The Court today held that the statutory classification, which distinguishes between parents who care for children with severe disabilities at home and parents caring for such children while they are in hospital, was not irrational and pursues a legitimate objective.

The Commission in its role as Amicus Curiae (friend of the court) argued that parental care for a disabled child does not ‘materially change’ when that child is hospitalised.

Chief Commissioner Sinéad Gibney said:

“Carers in Ireland today face extreme challenges and difficulties with fortitude and strength. This is particularly true of the parents of children with disabilities as represented in this case. The Commission used our legal powers in this case to seek to ensure clarity for such parents and we thank the Supreme Court for its ruling today.”


For further information please contact:
Brian Dawson, IHREC Head of Strategic Engagement
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Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission
The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is an independent public body, appointed by the President and directly accountable to the Oireachtas. The Commission has a statutory remit set out under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act (2014) to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland, and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding in the State.
The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is Ireland’s national human rights institution and is recognised as such by the United Nations. The Commission is also Ireland’s national equality body as required under EU equality law.