EA Welcomes Agreement on EC Directive on Equal Treatment Irrespective of Racial Ethnic Origin

“The Equality Authority warmly welcomes today’s political agreement in Brussels by
Labour and Social Affairs Ministers to implement the principle of equal treatment
between people of different racial or ethnic origins in the form of a binding European
Directive” according to a statement issued by Niall Crowley, Chief Executive of the
Equality Authority, this afternoon.

The Directive was proposed last November by the European Commission on foot of
Article 13 of the Amsterdam Treaty. “The speed with which this proposal has been agreed is indicative, firstly, of the seriousness of the problem of racism in Europe and, secondly, of the determination of the European Union to promote equal treatment irrespective of racial or ethnic origin” according to Mr Crowley. He added that today’s developments had a particular relevance for Ireland because of the increasing diversity of Irish society, and the labour force.

Discrimination on grounds of race in relation to employment is already prohibited in
Ireland under the Employment Equality Act, and will be covered in relation to the provision of goods and services when the Equal Status Act enters into force later this year. The Authority has already received a number of complaints in relation to the race ground and these are being processed at present. The Authority is also at present preparing an initiative to combat racism in the workplace in association with employers and trade unions.