Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Sets Out Its Strategic Priorities to 2021

  • Commission to focus on four themes including promoting access to justice, socio-economic rights, combatting racism, and promoting the rights of persons with disabilities
  • Chief Commissioner voices concern over current challenges to fundamental rights and in relation to reports of barriers to access to legal terminations.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (“the Commission”) today sets out its strategic priorities and focus for 2019-2021 as it launches its second Strategy Statement.

The Strategy Statement sets out the four strategic priorities that the Commission will pursue over the next three years:

Strategic Priority 1 – Protect the rights of individual persons who face the greatest barriers to justice

Strategic Priority 2 – Influence legislation, policy and practice

Strategic Priority 3 – Engage with key organisations to address discrimination and human rights abuses

Strategic Priority 4 – Raise the quality and broaden the extent of the dialogue on human rights and equality issues

The Commission has also committed to focusing its work over the next three years on advancing the following four areas:

  • Promoting people’s access to justice
  • Advancing socio-economic rights in the areas of housing, health and decent work
  • Combatting racism and promoting intercultural understanding
  • Disability Rights

The Strategy Statement has been laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas in accordance with the requirements of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014. The Strategy was produced following a process, which included public consultation and inputs from diverse organisations and civil society groups concerned with the promotion or protection of human rights and equality.

Speaking at the launch, Chief Commissioner Emily Logan warned against complacency in relation to fundamental rights:

“We may be forgiven for thinking that the European Union – the most successful peace project in history – had created unassailable norms for the Continent.  Recent developments, not least in relation to the peace treaty that is the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement, and the implications of Brexit for the rights of people in Britain and Northern Ireland, should warn against any such complacency.

“At a time when the international political discourse on protectionism is growing – it is important for Ireland to remember its longstanding commitment to internationalism, to human rights and to ensure that our international reputation is matched by our actions here at home.”

The Chief Commissioner also specifically voiced concerns in relation to access to healthcare around the Healthcare (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018:

“We have heard how operating within such a new legal framework is challenging for practitioners and policy makers, but we must be vigilant that the rights of patients, now on the statute books, are being vindicated. 

“As a Commission, we have a mandate to keep policy and legislation under review.  We will be monitoring the implementation of the new legislation, particularly in relation to reports of the barriers to access to legal terminations. I want to state clearly that the Commission will act, in whatever capacity is available to it, to support women and girls to vindicate their rights.”


For further information, please contact:

Brian Dawson, IHREC Communications Manager,

01 8589601 / 087 0697095

Follow us on twitter @_IHREC

Editor’s Note

The full text of the Strategy Statement 2019-2021 is available at the following link:

The 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.


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