Freedom of Information

Introduction

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission’s Publication Scheme is prepared under Section 8 of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2014.

This Publication Scheme is designed to facilitate the provision of up-to-date information relating to the Commission’s organisational structure, functions, services, decision-making, finance, procurement and FOI. The Publication Scheme is web based, and contains links to reference material which will be updated as provided for under the Act.

If you require information that is not currently made publicly available as part of this Publication Scheme, you may consider making an FOI Request to the Commission using our FOI Request Guide & Form .

A. Information about the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

Establishment

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission was established on 01 November 2014, under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014.

Roles, Responsibilities and Functions

Section 10 (1) of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014 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.

Section 10 (2) of the Act sets out a wide range of  specific functions and powers through which the Commission can address its overall mandate.

In undertaking its mandate, the Commission is obliged by section 10(3) of the Act to exercise its functions with a view to encouraging and supporting the development of a society in which:

  • there is respect for, and protection of, each person’s human rights;
  • there is respect for the dignity and worth of each person;
  • a person’s ability to achieve his or her potential is not limited by prejudice, discrimination, neglect or prohibited conduct;
  • each person has a fair and equal opportunity to participate in the economic, political, social or cultural life of the State, and;
  • there is mutual respect between persons, including classes of persons, based on a shared understanding of the value of diversity within society and on a shared respect for equality and human rights.

Governance/Management Arrangements

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act specifies that the Commission shall consist of not more than 15 and not less than 12 members, one of whom shall be the Chief Commissioner of the Commission.

The provisions of the Act are designed to ensure the independence of the Commission in its work. Commission members are appointed by Head of State, President Michael D. Higgins, following a resolution by both Houses of the Oireachtas, and the members independently determine the Commission’s policy and activity.

The structural independence of the Commission, in accordance with the Paris Principles, has been recognised in its “A” Status accreditation as an NHRI with the United Nations.

The Commission conducts approximately 6-8 ordinary plenary meetings per year. In addition, extraordinary meetings of the Commission may be conducted to facilitate the recording of time-sensitive decisions in between scheduled ordinary plenary meetings.

A full breakdown of Commission membership and attendance for previous years is published in the Commission’s Annual Reports.

Decision-making at Commission level is conducted, where possible, on the basis of consensus. Where there is a diversity of opinion on a given matter, a majority vote may be taken to determine the Commission’s position.

Minutes of ordinary plenary meetings are published as part of this publications scheme and can be viewed below:

11 April 2017 18th Ordinary Plenary Meeting Minutes (pdf)
17 May 2017 19th Ordinary Plenary Meeting Minutes (pdf)
28 June 2017 20th Ordinary Plenary Meeting Minutes (pdf)

The Act specifies that there should be a Director of the Commission, who shall carry on and manage, and control generally, the administration of the Commission. The Director is accountable to the Commission for the efficient and effective management of the Commission.

The Commission is funded through a Vote of the Oireachtas and the Director of the Commission is the Accounting Officer for its Vote.

The overall governance and control framework within the Commission is guided by:

  • Irish Human Rights and Equality Act 2014;
  • Code of Practice for the Governance of State bodies;
  • Corporate Governance Standard for the Civil Service;
  • Ethics in Public Office Act 1995;
  • Standards in Public Office Act 2001;
  • Report of the Working Group on the Accountability of Secretaries General and Accounting Officers (the Mullarkey Report);
  • Public Financial Procedures 2008.

Organisational & Pay Grading Structure

The Commission is the employer of its staff who are civil servants in the civil service of the State, and who are paid according to standard civil service scales. The organisational and pay grading structure of the current staff is:

Grade/Pay Scale No. on Scale
Assistant Secretary – (Chief Commissioner) 1
Director 1
Principal Officer 1
Assistant Principal Officer 11
Higher Executive Officer 11
Executive Officer 12
Clerical Officer 8

Types of Records Held by the Commission

Records held by the Commission fall within the following categories:

General

  • Annual Reports;
  • Strategy Statements;
  • Work Plans;
  • Minutes of Plenary Meetings;
  • Internal Administration Records.

Legal

  • Records of legal assistance sought and received under Section 40;
  • Records of legal queries;
  • Records related to Amicus Curiae briefs.

Policy & Research

  • Published research reports;
  • Published policy position statements.

Strategic Engagement

  • Contacts with Government Departments;
  • Contacts with Oireachtas Committees;
  • Press Cuttings;
  • Speeches and Presentations;
  • Records relating to publication of reports e.g. annual reports.

Corporate Affairs

  • Corporate Assurance Agreement(s);
  • Accounts records;
  • Assets Register;
  • Risk Register;
  • Facilities records;
  • ICT records;
  • Human Resources Records;
  • Civil/Public Service Guidelines and Circulars;
  • Internal procedures records;
  • FOI Requests;
  • Data Protection Requests;
  • General enquiries/correspondence.

Corporate Plans & Strategies

Strategy Statement 2016-2018
Strategy Statement 2016-2018 Plain English – Edited by NALA

Annual Reports

Annual Report 2016
Annual Report 2015

Location

Irish Human Rights & Equality Commission
16-22 Green Street
Dublin 7
D07 CR20

Contact Details

For general/business enquiries please contact:
Tel: + 353 (0) 1 8589601
Email: info@ihrec.ie

B. Services Provided to the Public 

Your Rights information service

The Commission, through its free Your Rights information service can provide you with information on your rights, and the remedies available to you, under equality and human rights law in Ireland. This includes information on:

Please note that the Your Rights service can only provide information, and specifically cannot provide legal advice.

Also the Your Rights information service cannot:

  • Provide information on matters not covered by equality law or human rights law.
  • Provide information on human rights and equality issues which happen outside the Republic of Ireland.

How information on Your Rights can be accessed

Your Rights information is available on our website.

To contact the Your Rights information service you can also:

  • Call on 01 858 3000 or Lo call 1 890 245545
  • E-mail at YourRights@ihrec.ie
  • Or you can write to:

Your Rights, 
Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission,
16-22 Green St,
Dublin 7.

 

C. Decision Making Process for Major Policy Proposals

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act specifies that the Commission shall consist of not more than 15 and not less than 12 members, one of whom shall be the Chief Commissioner of the Commission.

The provisions of the Act are designed to ensure the independence of the Commission in its work. Commission members are appointed by appointed by Head of State, President Michael D. Higgins, following a resolution by both Houses of the Oireachtas, and the members independently determine the Commission’s policy and activity.

D. Financial Information

The Commission is funded through a Vote of the Oireachtas, which is published in the Annual Government Estimates, and the Director of the Commission is the Accounting Officer for its Vote.

In accordance with section 27(1) of the IHREC Act 2014, the Commission is responsible for preparing Appropriation Accounts and for ensuring the regularity of all financial transactions. The functions underpinning these responsibilities include authorising and monitoring payments for goods and services, tendering processes, the operation of payroll and the compilation of monthly returns to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

Appropriation Account

The Appropriation Accounts of the Commission are published annually by the Comptroller & Auditor General. Full text of Appropriation Accounts are available below:
Appropriation Account 2016
Appropriation Account 2015

Prompt Payment Returns

In accordance with Government Decision S29296 of 2 and 8 March 2011, the Commission is required to ensure that valid invoices are paid within 15 days from the date they are received.
The Commission’s quarterly Prompt Payment returns can be viewed here.

Commission Member Remuneration/Travel & Subsistence

Commission
Member
2016
Fees Paid
2016
Travel & Subsistence
Total €78,232.50 €9,607.35
Ms Emily Logan N/A €3,083.87
Ms Teresa Blake €9,618.75 Nil
Mr Frank Conaty Nil €1,342.48
Ms Heydi Foster-Breslin €9,618.75 Nil
Mr Liam Herrick €1,282.50 Nil
Mr David Joyce €9,618.75 Nil
Mr Mark Kelly €9,618.75 Nil
Ms Sunniva McDonagh €9,618.75 Nil
Prof Siobhán Mullally Nil €1,241.92
Dr Mary Murphy Nil €387.53
Prof Ray Murphy Nil €1,078.80
Dr Fidèle Mutwarasibo €9,618.75 €2,472.75
Ms Orlagh O' Farrell €9,618.75 Nil
Ms Betty Purcell €9,618.75 Nil
Mr Kieran Rose Nil Nil

Commission
Member
2015
Fees Paid
2015
Travel & Subsistence
Total €61,560 €9,608
Ms Emily Logan N/A €569
Ms Teresa Blake €7,695 Nil
Mr Frank Conaty Nil €2,030
Ms Heydi Foster-Breslin €7,695 Nil
Mr Liam Herrick Nil Nil
Mr David Joyce €7,695 Nil
Mr Mark Kelly €7,695 Nil
Ms Sunniva McDonagh €7,695 Nil
Prof Siobhán Mullally Nil €955
Dr Mary Murphy Nil €900
Prof Ray Murphy Nil €1,944
Dr Fidèle Mutwarasibo €7,695 €3,129
Ms Orlagh O' Farrell €7,695 €81
Ms Betty Purcell €7,695 Nil
Mr Kieran Rose Nil Nil

E. Procurement

Procurement Policies

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission promotes best practice and consistency of application of public procurement rules in relation to its purchase of goods and services.

All procurement within the Commission must be carried out in compliance with all relevant procurement legislation which can be viewed here .

Where possible, the Commission uses public procurement frameworks provided by the Office of Government Procurement at ogp.gov.ie .

Current Tenders

Details of the Commission’s current tenders can be found at www.eTenders.gov.ie which is the central facility for all public sector contracting authorities to advertise procurement opportunities and award notices.

F. Freedom of Information Disclosure Log & Information to be Published Routinely

Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act came into effect on 14 October 2014, granting members of the public the following statutory rights:

  • the right to access records held by all public bodies covered by the Act;
  • the right to have personal information in a record amended where such information is incomplete, incorrect or misleading;
  • the right to receive reasons for decisions taken by public bodies affecting the person.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is an FOI body under the FOI Act 2014.

The FOI Act distinguishes between personal and non-personal information. Personal information can be accessed regardless of when it was created if it is still in existence. Non-personal information can only be accessed if it has been created after 21 April 1998 (commencement date of the FOI Act).

The Commission is required to publish Disclosure Logs for all non-personal Freedom of Information requests. Disclosure Logs can be viewed below:

2017 Disclosure Log
2016 Disclosure Log
2015 Disclosure Log

Making an FOI Request

For guidance on how to request records from the Commission under the Freedom of Information Act 2014, please use the FOI Request Guide & Form. FOI requests can be submitted to foi@ihrec.ie or by post to this address:

FOI Officer,
The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission
16-22 Green St,
Dublin 7.

Publications

Publications by the Commission can be viewed here.