Welcome to the newsletter of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission
Issue 2 2018
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Welcome to the newsletter of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission. The information and links below give updates on some of the Commission's work, alongside resources and information on human rights and equality.

In this issue: 

For more information on our work visit www.ihrec.ie or follow the Commission on twitter @_IHREC


Attitudes to Diversity in Ireland

  Attitudes to Diversity in Ireland

New research entitled “Attitudes to Diversity in Ireland”  has found that the attitudes of Irish-born people to immigrants and immigration vary significantly over time, depending on the ethnicity of the migrants, on respondents’ education and financial security, and on the level of individual contact people have with those from different ethnic backgrounds.

The research, published jointly by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and the Economic and Social Research Institute looks at Ireland’s increasing diversity and monitors attitudes for the period from 2002-2014. The results for Ireland are also compared with averages from ten other Western European states.

The report’s analysis includes a number of public policy lessons for Ireland:

  • Facilitating meaningful and positive interactions between the Irish-born population and immigrants is likely to reduce anti-migrant sentiment, for example, through community-based initiatives and inclusive urban planning.
  • Providing accurate information on the characteristics of migrants, for example, levels of education, rates of employment, has an important role to play in informing the public about migration and in challenging perceptions of migrants as a uniform group.
  • Tackling poverty and promoting educational achievement in Ireland are likely to promote greater social cohesion and understanding of ethnic minority groups.
  • Attitudes monitoring is a vital tool for the future in understanding the social context of migrant integration.

Ireland is also to be examined by the UN regarding the State’s obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (UNCERD). This report’s findings will inform the Commission’s submission to this UN expert committee.


Attitudes to Diversity in Ireland - Full report 

Related Media

Newstalk interview with the Chief Commissioner

Irish Times editorial article

Irish Independent article

Commission media release


Joint Committee - Brexit impacts on human rights and equality


The Joint Committee of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission has called for the implementation of urgent safeguarding measures to protect human rights in the context of the United Kingdom withdrawal from the European Union.

The Joint Committee, established under the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement published its focused policy statement in March, with recommendations directed to policy makers including the UK and Irish Governments, and the European Institutions.

The Joint Committee outlined six requirements for the final EU withdrawal agreement to meet the obligations of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement:

  1. Ensure no diminution of rights within the withdrawal agreement.
  2. Safeguard the North-South equivalency of rights on an ongoing basis.
  3. Guarantee equality of citizenship within Northern Ireland.
  4. Protect border communities and migrant workers
  5. Ensure evolving justice arrangements do not water down rights.
  6. Ensure continued right to participate in public life for EU citizens in Northern Ireland.


The Joint Committee Policy statement on the United Kingdom withdrawal from the European Union

Discussion paper on Brexit

Related Media

RTE Morning Ireland Interview (piece at 1hr 47mins)

Irish Times article

The Times (Ireland edition) article

Irish Examiner article

Commission media release


Commission nominees confirmed by the Oireachtas


Seven members, including five new members have been nominated to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.

Following an open, competitive process run by the Public Appointments Service, the following seven individuals have been nominated and their nominations approved by both Houses of the Oireachtas. 

  • Tony Geoghegan – Chief Executive, Merchants Quay Ireland
  • Salome Mbugua – AkiDwA, Wezesha
  • Prof. Caroline Fennell – Senior Vice President Academic and Registrar, UCC
  • Colm O’Dwyer – Senior Counsel
  • Patrick Connolly – Chief Executive Officer, Inclusion Ireland
  • Heydi Foster Breslin – Chief Executive Officer, Misean Cara
  • Frank Conaty – Lecturer, NUIG

The final step in the process will be their appointment to the Commission by President Michael D. Higgins for a five year term. The appointments will see the Commission at its full complement of fifteen Commission Members. In accordance with the 2014 Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act, this ensures a continuing gender balance with eight women and seven men.

The nominations bring significant legal, academic and practical expertise to Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.


Oireachtas motion on the nominations

Related Media

Irish Legal News article

Commission media release


Submission to Commission on the Future of Policing

Submission to the Commission on the Future of Policing 

The Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland sought input from the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission in its consultation on policing in Ireland.

In its submission, the Commission notes progress such as the Garda Racial and Intercultural and Diversity Office now having over 270 Diversity Officers working nationwide. The submission raises key areas of concern in relation to policing, and makes recommendations across a number of policy areas, including the protection of victims' rights, diversity in policing, recording and investigation of hate crime, domestic violence recording, and the regulation of covert surveillance.


Submission to the Commission on the Future of Policing

Related Media

Irish Examiner article

Commission media release


UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities


After years of work and tireless campaigning by persons with disabilities, the Oireachtas has formally agreed Ireland’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and the Convention will come into legal effect later this month.

Under article 33 of the Convention, an independent monitoring framework must be established to scrutinise the State’s progress in implementing the Convention’s obligations to protect, respect and uphold the human rights of persons with disabilities.

Later this year, the Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill is expected to provide, in statute, for the Commission’s formal monitoring function and the establishment of an advisory committee, including people with disabilities.

To support the implementation of the UN CRPD in Ireland the Commission aims to develop a mechanism for State monitoring, including the establishment of a specific advisory committee and to develop public information in relation to promoting an understanding and awareness of the Convention.


Establishing a Monitoring Framework for the UN CRPD

Related Media

Newstalk article

Commission media release


Focus on socio-economic rights across Europe


In its role as Ireland's National Equality Body, the Commission welcomed the European Network of Equality Bodies (Equinet) to Dublin for a conference on socio-economic rights and social exclusion.

The conference in March, titled “Poverty and Discrimination: Two Sides of the Same Coin,” focused on the links between poverty and discrimination. Among the topics considered by the conference was the role of socio-economic status as a discrimination ground. 

Minister David Stanton provided the keynote address, with other contributions coming from the UN OHCHR, European Fundamental Rights Agency, European Committee of Social Rights, Eurofound, as well as civil society organisations and equality bodies.


Conference presentations

Related Media

Event media release


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