Welcome to the newsletter of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission
 
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Issue 5 2018
 
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Welcome

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

 
 

Ireland's CRPD Monitoring - Be part of progressing the rights of people with disabilities in Ireland   

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The Commission will be the independent monitoring mechanism for the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) which Ireland ratified this year. In order to assist and advise the Commission as we develop our monitoring role, we are now inviting applications for membership of a Disability Advisory Committee. 

At least half of the 12 member Committee will be persons with disabilities, and people are invited to apply by Tuesday 30th October 2018 at 5pm. For more information about CRPD, the Disability Advisory Committee and how to apply to join please visit our website.

The Commission's Disability Advisory Committee campaign was launched at an event which saw speakers from Inclusion Scotland, the European Parliament and Disabled Women Ireland discuss Ireland's implementation of the CRPD. A new report in the Commission's research series with the ESRI was launched, "Disability and Discrimination in Ireland"  examines the experience of discrimination for people with disabilities in Ireland. 

Resources
Video - the CRPD and the Disability Advisory Committee 
Brief Guide to the CRPD 
Video - Irish Sign Language guide to the CRPD
Research report: Disability and Discrimination in Ireland 
Easy to read Summary: Disability and Discrimination in Ireland 

Related Media
RTÉ Radio - Morning Ireland interview with the Chief Commissioner
Irish Times article
The Times (Ireland) editorial
Irish Examiner article
Commission media release

 
 

Oireachtas engagement - TDs and Senators invite Commission recommendations on Art.41.2 of the Constitution

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The Commission has called for the recognition of care work in families as a benefit for the "public good". 

At a hearing of the Joint Committee on Justice and Equality, the Commission told Oireachtas Members that there is an opportunity provided by an amendment to Article 41.2 of the Constitution not only to delete “an archaic reference” but also “to introduce a compassionate, generous recognition of the public good realised within Ireland’s diverse families and in caring roles.”

Emily Logan, Chief Commissioner, and Commission Members Frank Conaty and Professor Siobhán Mullally, addressed Oireachtas Members on September 19th and outlined the Commission’s recommendations on the proposed 38th Amendment of The Constitution of Ireland.

Resources
Policy Statement on Article 41.2 of the Constitution of Ireland
Oireachtas video

Related Media
Irish Examiner article
RTÉ article
The Times (Ireland)
Commission media release

 
 

Oireachtas engagement - conscientious objection and access provisions must be set out in abortion legislation

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The Commission has made its recommendations to the Minister of Health and all Oireachtas Members on the general scheme of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill 2018, focusing specifically on two prime areas of concern: conscientious objection and equality of access to services.

The Commission has called on Oireachtas Members to ensure that legislation governing access to abortion in Ireland does not create barriers to safe, timely and equal access to medical care for women and girls.

The written submission builds on the Commission's appearance before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment in October 2017.

Resources

Observations on the General Scheme of a Bill Entitled Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill 2018

Related Media
Sunday Times article
The Times (Ireland) editorial article
Commission Media Release

 
 

Advancing human rights and equality in the courts - reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities at question in Supreme Court case 

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The Commission has been granted leave from the Supreme Court to exercise its amicus curiae (‘friend of the court’) function in a significant case on the rights of persons with disabilities to have reasonable accommodations in the workplace.

The case of Marie Daly v. Nano Nagle School is being heard by the Supreme Court as it is of significant public importance. The case centres on Marie Daly, a Special Needs Assistant (‘SNA’) who had worked for the Nano Nagle School for children with learning and/or physical disabilities, since 1998. In 2010 she suffered an accident and after a period of rehabilitation, in 2011 she sought to return to work.

Following a review of expert reports, the School Board concluded that Ms Daly did not have the capacity to undertake the full set of duties associated with a SNA, and nor would she in the future and so decided not to permit her to return to work.

The outcome of this case has potentially significant implications for people with disabilities in employment or seeking employment, and the obligations of employers in the provision of reasonable accommodation.

Related Media
Commission Media Release

 
 

Advancing human rights and equality in the courts - Commission to appear before High Court in right to fair trial case 

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The Commission has been granted leave from the High Court to exercise its amicus curiae (‘friend of the court’) function in a case relating to a European Arrest Warrant and an individual’s right to a fair trial.

The case centres on the requested extradition of Mr. Artur Celmer, a Polish national, to Poland under a European Arrest Warrant, where concerns have been raised over recent legislative changes in Poland about the independence of the judiciary, the courts and the Public Prosecutor. These changes, according to Mr. Celmer, undermine the possibility of him having a fair trial.

Related Media
Irish Times article
Irish Legal News article
Commission media release 

 
 

Sexual abuse victims being forced through the Courts by State Interpretation of O'Keeffe ECtHR judgment

  Independent Assessor Submission 1009

The Commission has warned that victims of historic child sexual abuse in schools, many of whom should be considered as vulnerable, are still being forced through the Courts to secure their rights, due to the State’s narrow interpretation of the 2014 European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) judgment in the case of Louise O’Keeffe.

The Commission has consistently, since 2015, set out that the State has adopted an unduly restrictive and narrow approach to the category of “victim” in its interpretation of the ECtHR ruling. The latest warning from the Commission was delivered in its June submission to the Independent Assessor Mr. Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill in relation to claims for ex gratia payments arising from the O’Keeffe judgement. 

Resources
Submission to the Independent Assessor

Related Media
Irish Independent article
Commission media release

 
 

Implementing the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty in Local Authorities 

  Seminar programme: LGMA Public Sector Duty Event

All public bodies in Ireland have a positive responsibility to promote equality, prevent discrimination and protect the human rights of their staff and the persons to whom they provides services. This is a legal obligation, called the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty. The Duty provides an exciting opportunity for public bodies to consider their work through a new lens.

As part of its work in promoting the Duty, the Commission hosted a seminar for all local authorities in the LGMA offices in Dublin on 27th September. The event provided an opportunity to showcase the learnings of pilot projects in two local authorities – Cork City Council and Monaghan County Council. It was also an opportunity to discuss the benefits and challenges of implementing the Duty in a local authority context and allowed the Commission to provide practical advice and insights to the senior executives present. 

Resources
The Public Sector Duty- information booklet
Video - Implementing the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty
Professional Diploma in Human Rights and Equality


 
 

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