Human Rights and Equality Update - Issue 5 2019
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Issue 5 2019
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In this issue of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission newsletter, we bring you the latest news from the Commission, together with useful resources and information on significant human rights and equality issues in Ireland.

In this issue:


Supreme Court reaffirms the right to silence and fundamental privilege against self-incrimination


The Supreme Court has delivered judgment in the case of Sweeney v. Minister for Justice, Ireland and the Attorney General.

The Commission appeared in the Sweeney case as an amicus curiae (‘friend of the court’) as the case examined the fundamental right to remain silent and not to incriminate yourself, in response to questioning by Gardaí.

The case concerns a man who was questioned, but not charged, in relation to a criminal investigation. When interviewed by Gardaí investigating the original case, he was cautioned that he had the right to remain silent, but he was not informed that his failure to respond to questioning could lead to a separate charge of withholding information from the Gardaí, as subsequently happened when he was charged under the Offences Against the State Acts (“the OASA”).

Commission’s written submissions
Full judgment of the Supreme Court 

Related media
Irish Times article
Commission media release


Eliminating racial discrimination in Ireland: civil society forum


The Commission welcomed over 40 civil society organisations to discuss perspectives on racism and intercultural understanding in Ireland.

This was one of our Biannual Civil Society Forums. Views collected on the day will contribute to our UN reporting on Ireland’s obligations under the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) later this year.


North-South Joint Committee meets at Stormont


The Joint Committee of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission has met at Stormont.

Established under the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement to consider human rights issues in the island of Ireland, the Joint Committee has commissioned several pieces of research - the most recent of which was launched last year and focussed on the Common Travel Area. The Committee discussed human rights and equality implications of Brexit and plans for future work and research including its report into evolving justice arrangements post-Brexit, which is due to be published in the coming months.

Discussion Paper on the Common Travel Area - November 2018
Discussion Paper on Brexit - March 2018

Related Media
Commission media release


Providing legal assistance in challenging discrimination—win in employment discrimination case for dismissal based on dyspraxia


The Commission welcomed the decision by the Workplace Relations Commission in the case of a man who successfully challenged his dismissal because he experienced discrimination on the grounds of his disability. Using its statutory powers, the Commission represented Mr. Dunne in bringing his case to the WRC. 

Mr. Stephen Dunne was dismissed from his work specifically due to his dyspraxia, and in its final adjudication the WRC ordered that Sky Handling Partner Ltd. must conduct a review of its procedures in relation to employment policies and practices to ensure compliance with the Employment Equality Acts. The WRC ordered that Mr. Dunne be paid €15,000 in compensation, the equivalent of 18 months’ pay. 

Full decision of the WRC Adjudication Officer

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

Advancing human rights and equality in the courts— Commission appears before Supreme Court in ward of court case


The Commission has appeared before the Supreme Court as amicus curiae (‘friend of the court’) in a case that explores whether the procedures under which someone can be confined to a hospital or nursing home, and made a ward of court are lawful.

The case is expected to explore the nature and extent of the rights and protections afforded to people with mental health disabilities in Ireland, including their right to have their voices heard, and its outcome is likely to impact on voluntary patients in nursing home and hospital settings.

Legal submissions - AC and Others vrs Cork University Hospital and Others

Related Media
Irish Legal News article
Commission media release


Information session on implementing the Public Sector Duty


The Commission has developed its guidance for public bodies on Implementing the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty. 

The guidance provides an overview of the Duty, its context and the three steps that a public body must take to implement the Duty in line with its statutory obligation.

We are running two more information sessions on the new guidance in the coming months: 13th June 2019 and 19th September 2019. Event details are available on the Public Sector Duty website.

Dedicated Public Sector Duty website - guidance, information sessions, FAQ & case studies
Implementing the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty [English]
Dualgas na hEarnála Poiblí um Chomhionannas agus Cearta an Duine a chur i bhfeidhm [Gaeilge]


Student Bursary Scheme 2019 open for applications 


As part of our work in promoting the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty, we are delighted to announce the launch of the fourth year of our bursary scheme for prospective students of the Professional Diploma in Human Rights and Equality at the Institute of Public Administration. The bursary scheme has 10 bursary places and is open to people from civil society organisations or public bodies. The bursary scheme and will cover all course fees for successful applicants. The application process closes  Friday 21st of June 2019 at 5pm

Student Bursary Scheme 2019 - web page


Date for diary - launch of 2018 Annual Report

  Save the date
Join us for the launch of the Commission's 2018 Annual Report on Monday, 24th June 2019. The event will be a great opportunity to meet the Members of the Commission and find out more about our work on promoting and protecting rights in Ireland.
Watch for details.

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