Setting the Equality Agenda Advisory Committee on Equal Opportunities for Gays and Lesbians

An Advisory Committee on Equal Opportunities for Gays .and Lesbians has been established by the Equality Authority and meets for the first time today. The Equality Authority established on 18th October last under the Employment Equality Act, 1998 works towards the elimination of discrimination in employment and following the enactment of the Equal Status Bill (currently before the Oireachtas), in the provision of goods and services, education, property and other opportunities to which the public generally have access. Discrimination on nine distinct grounds, including sexual orientation is outlawed. The Advisory Committee has been established to explore the Equality Authority’s role in addressing issues of discrimination and exclusion experienced by gays and lesbians.

The committee will work over a six month period and has representatives from the Authority itself, the Department of Education, Gay & Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN), Lesbian Education Awareness (LEA), Lesbians Organising Together (LOT), Gay & HIV Strategies, and Dublin Aids Alliance. Regional representation is included..

The committee’s terms of reference are:

  • To identify examples of best practice drawing from experience in other jurisdictions, in promoting equality under the sexual orientation ground.
  • To explore the relevance of heterosexism and homophobia in an Irish context.
  • To develop a perspective to inform policy making/equal opportunities in employment and service provision and actions required to give effect to this perspective.
  • To recommend a role for the Equality Authority within this agenda for action.

Mr Niall Crowley, CEO of the Equality Authority stated “Our goal is to secure and realise the rights of all individuals and groups covered by the legislation. This Advisory Committee will give detail to the equality agenda on behalf of gays and lesbians. As such it widens the expertise and input available to us in preparing our programme of work”.