Policy Statement on the Electoral Acts and Civil Society Space in Ireland

The Commission has set out its recommendations in its role as Ireland’s National Human Rights and Equality body, in light of concerns that application of the 1997 Electoral Act (as amended) may be having a chilling effect on the funding and activities of civil society organisations involved in legitimate advocacy.

The Commission sets out the need for a review of the Electoral Acts to:

  •  Consider how the State ensures an enabling legal framework and a conducive political and public environment for human rights defenders, enabling individuals, groups, civil society organisations and national institutions for the protection and promotion of human rights (NHRIs) to freely carry out activities, on a legal basis, consistent with international law and standards, to strive for the protection and promotion of all human rights and fundamental freedoms;
  • Set out a clearer links between restrictions placed on ‘third party’ activity/ activity for ‘political purposes’ specific to elections and referendums, rather than wider civil society activity aiming to influence policy making and decision making.
  • Take account of wider reforms now underway in oversight of electoral processes around the development of a statutory Electoral Commission.

Policy Statement on Civil Society and the Electoral Acts – January 2019

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