Race Related Employment Discrimination ‘An Intractable Trend’ Which Must Be Reversed

Sinéad Gibney, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (“The Commission”) will today outline to a gathering of over 250 public and private sector employers, trade unions, and civil society organisations that “migrant communities and minority ethnic groups, including the Traveller and Roma Communities, are overlooked and under-served in the Irish labour market.”

The Commission is today hosting an event entitled “Achieving Equality at Work Promoting Racial Inclusion and Diversity in Practice”. It will see high-level speakers including from the International Labour Organisation, the Public Appointments Service, Migrant Rights Centre, National Traveller Women’s Forum, Cultúr Migrants Centre, Bank of Ireland, ERVIA, AXA, ICTU and SIPTU.

Last year (2020), race discrimination related issues made up 17% of all public contacts to the Commission on employment matters, up from 12% the year before (2019). Today’s event takes place also as the Commission is also running a national public awareness campaign focused on combating racism entitled #AllAgainstRacism.

Chief Commissioner Sinéad Gibney will also announce that the Commission will in December, in partnership with Ibec and ICTU publish new guidance for employers on Employing International Protection Applicants.

The Commission has consistently fought for the right for people to enter employment, including in relation to people in direct provision. The importance of work to human dignity has been recognised clearly by the Supreme Court in the landmark ruling (NHV). In an earlier judgment Mr. Justice Gerard Hogan stated: “employment is not just simply a means of earning a living. Employment gives dignity to what otherwise would be for many a soulless existence and for those of us those fortunate to have an occupation, trade or employment, this may be said to be one of the key defining features of our lives.”

Opening today’s event Chief Commissioner, Sinéad Gibney, will state:

“Tackling racism and racial discrimination, and integrating racial equality into routine recruitment and employment policies and practices, is essential if we are to reverse intractable employment trends.

“However, none of this will be achieved in a systemic way unless we see strong inclusive leadership. This leadership is critical to creating a culture of equality and inclusion in the workplace.”


For further information, please contact:

Brian Dawson, IHREC Communications Manager,

01 8589601 / 087 0697095


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Notes to editor:

Event details – “ Achieving Equality at Work  Promoting Racial Inclusion and Diversity in Practice”

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, as Ireland’s national human rights and equality body, is today bringing together over 250 participants from public and private sector employers, trade union groups, civil society and advocacy groups.

Full programme available below


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.