European Social Charter Review Highlights Issues of State Non-Conformity

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (“the Commission”) has responded to findings published by the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) in its review of Ireland’s performance under the European Social Charter covering the years 2012 to 2015.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission as Ireland’s National Human Rights and Equality body submitted its independent report to the European Committee on Social rights in April 2017, ahead of Ireland’s review, and the Commission notes that the ECSR has drawn extensively from the Commission’s input in issuing its conclusions on Ireland.

Key areas highlighted by the Commission in its submission, include:

  • Article 3 on the right to safe and healthy working conditions – enforcement of safety and health regulations and in relation to occupational health services. The Commission highlighted issues in relation to workplace inspections, and the need for a strategic approach to occupational health services.
  • Article 11 on the right to protection of health and the removal of causes of ill-health, and the prevention of diseases and accidents. The Commission raised issues in relation to healthcare access for the most marginalised groups, socio-economic differences in illness and mortality, and standards of mental health care provision.
  • Article 12 on the right to social security – existence of a social security system, adherence to a European code of social security, and the development of the social security system. The Commission raised issues in relation to the level of assistance and conditions for granting assistance.
  • Article 13 on the right to social and medical assistance – adequate assistance for every person in need. The Commission highlighted the level of payment to payments to individuals under 24 and raised the need to ensure independence in the social welfare appeals process.
  • Article 14 on the right to benefit from social welfare service – promotion or provision of social services and public participation in the establishment and maintenance of social services. The Commission raised shortcomings in relation to homeless services, domestic violence services, children’s services and services for persons with disabilities. The Commission also outlined cuts to funding for the community and voluntary sector.
  • Article 23 on the right of the elderly to social protection. The Commission raised information in relation to pension provisions, the gender-pension gap, and in relation to assisted decision-making.
  • Article 30 on the right to be protected against poverty and social exclusion – The Commission raised the need for further efforts to combat poverty and social exclusion in a context of economic growth.


For further information, please contact:

Brian Dawson, IHREC Communications Manager,

01 8589601 / 087 0697095

Follow us on twitter @_IHREC

Notes to editor:

The full text of the submission made by the Commission to the European Committee of Social Rights is available at the following link:

Comments on Ireland’s 14th National Report on the Implementation of the European Social Charter

The Conclusions of the European Commission on Social Rights in relation to Ireland are available here

The European Social Charter

The Revised European Social Charter is a binding human rights treaty that Ireland ratified in 2000 (replacing the State’s accession to an earlier European Social Charter that had been ratified in 1964). The Charter sets out legal standards in economic, social and cultural human rights, in areas such as housing and accommodation, education, social welfare and protection, and in employment. It also protects vulnerable groups such as children, people with disabilities and older people. It is the Council of Europe’s counterpart for economic, social and cultural rights to the European Convention on Human Rights.

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 for the purpose of a range of EU anti-discrimination measures.

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