Further New Commission Member Proposed for the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (‘the Commission’) has today welcomed the Government’s recommendation of Ms. Sunniva McDonagh SC to be proposed for appointment to serve on the Commission.

Ms. McDonagh joins seven other proposed Commission Members, who have been recommended by Government for appointment.

The announcement comes after an open and transparent competition held by the Public Appointments Service (PAS).

As set out under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014, once the PAS selection process is completed, Commission Members must be approved through resolutions of both Houses of the Oireachtas and are then formally appointed by President Michael D. Higgins.

This process is in line with international standards for National Human Rights Institutions (the UN Paris Principles). Together with the pending appointment of Ms. Sinead Gibney to the post of Chief Commissioner, who was selected after a similar independent PAS process, the appointments will bring the Commission to its full complement of fifteen members.

Dr. Frank Conaty, Acting Chief Commissioner welcomed today’s announcement:

“The Commission welcomes the addition of Sunniva McDonagh SC as a proposed Commission Member, she along with the seven other proposed Commission Members and our proposed new Chief Commissioner will be a significant addition to the work and expertise of the Commission.”

“Once confirmed by the Oireachtas and President Higgins, new Commission Members will join in the work of fulfilling the Commission’s statutory mandate to protect and promote human rights and equality in the State.”


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Brian Dawson, IHREC Communications Manager,

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Note to Editor 

Ms. McDonagh joins seven other proposed appointments to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, who were proposed by the Government in June:

  • Jim Clarken, CEO of Oxfam Ireland
  • Michael Finucane, Solicitor
  • Adam Harris, CEO and founder of AsIAm
  • Kathleen Lynch, Sociologist and former Professor of Equality Studies, UCD
  • Rosaleen McDonagh, Traveller woman with a disability, Playwright and IHREC Disability Advisory Committee member
  • Lucy Michael, Sociologist, Ulster University
  • Ray Murphy, Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUIG

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

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. The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014, Article 12 sets out the Membership of Commission, while Article 13 sets out Appointment of members of Commission.

The UN Paris Principles constitute a set of internationally recognised standards to assess the independence and effectiveness of national human rights institutions. Included in these standards, is an inclusive and transparent selection and appointment process.

The ECRI General Policy Recommendation No. 2 states that persons holding leadership positions in equality bodies should be selected and appointed by transparent, competency-based and participatory procedures.