The Equality Authority A Future Shaped by New Equality Legislation

The Equality Authority

Chief Executive of the recently established Equality Authority, Mr. Niall Crowley addressed delegates at the Equality 2000 Conference today, at Templeshannon, Enniscorthy. The Conference is organised by the Enniscorthy Traveller Support Group to explore ways in which the statutory and voluntary sectors can work together under the new equality infrastructure. In his presentation, Mr. Crowley outlined the provisions of the Employment Equality Act 1998 and how the equality agenda will embrace the needs and aspirations of the Traveller Movement. “In seeking to realise this agenda the core function of the Equality Authority will be to secure and realise the individual rights of people who experience discrimination. “

The Equality Authority works towards the elimination of discrimination in employment, in the provision of goods and services, education, property and other opportunities to which the public generally have access. The Employment Equality Act, 1998, and the Equal Status Bill (currently before the Oireachtas} will outlaw discrimination on nine distinct grounds, including membership, of the Traveller Community.

“The ambition of the legislation challenges us to work not just to create the opportunity for equality but also to realise the outcome of equality. Accommodating diversity and focusing on outcomes requires a mainstreaming of equality. This challenges us to identify the core equality considerations and to apply these whenever decisions are being made in relation .to policy, practice or allocation of resources.” For Travellers the core equality considerations might be -visibility, nomadism, communication and respect for cultural values. “Clearly any final definition of core equality considerations requires the participation of Travellers and Traveller organisations, as does their application”, added Mr. Crowley.