Human Rights and Equality Update - Issue 7 2019
Issue 7 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 significantly clarifies rights of persons with disabilities to reasonable workplace accomodation


The Commission has welcomed an important Supreme Court ruling on the rights of persons with disabilities to have reasonable accommodation made in workplaces as set out in legislation.

The Supreme Court judgment, delivered by Mr. Justice John MacMenamin in Daly v. Nano Nagle School:
  • Reverses the previous decision of the Court of Appeal by setting out that reasonable accommodation can involve a redistribution of any task or duty in a job.
  • Sets out an expectation of consultation of employees on reasonable accommodation.
  • Focuses on the dignity of the person and the centrality of the State’s obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ratified by Ireland in 2018.
Supreme Court judgment
Commission submissions, 25 October 2018
Commission submissions, 4 December 2018
Commission submissions, 6 December 2018
Related media
Irish Times article
RTE Drive Time, interview with Chief Commissioner Emily Logan
Commission media release

Time spent on care and unpaid work in Ireland is 3rd highest in EU

  Brendan and Bernie
Ireland has the third highest weekly hours of caring and unpaid work for both men and women across the EU 28 according to new research entitled “Caring and Unpaid Work in Ireland”, published by the Commission and the Economic and Social Research Institute.

The report examines Irish data collected over more than a decade to investigate involvement in unpaid work in the areas of childcare, care of older adults or those with a disability, and housework. It also looks at how people’s involvement has changed over time, and how Ireland compares to other EU member states.

The report was launched by the Commission and the ESRI with the participation of broadcaster Brendan Courtney who has spoken of his personal experiences of care related to his parents, and by Bernie Bradley who, alongside being a full-time Social Inclusion Officer with Monaghan County Council, is a member of the Commission’s Disability Advisory Committee and a parent of a daughter with Down Syndrome.

Report - Caring and unpaid work in Ireland

Related media
RTÉ Sean O'Rourke - interview with Brendan Courtney and Bernie Bradley
Irish Examiner editorial
Irish Times article
Irish Independent article 
Commission media release
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Commission appears before Supreme Court in right to fair trial case


The Commission has appeared before the Supreme Court as amicus curiae in an internationally significant case relating to the European Arrest Warrant system and the right to a fair trial.

The case (Artur Celmer v. Minister for Justice and Equality) had been appealed directly from the High Court to the Supreme Court as it is of significant public importance. It centres on the requested extradition of Mr. Artur Celmer, a Polish national, to Poland under the European Arrest Warrant system, where concerns have been raised by Mr. Celmer over the impact of recent legislative changes in Poland on the independence of the judiciary, the courts and the Public Prosecutor. These changes, according to Mr. Celmer, undermine the possibility of him receiving a fair trial.

Commission submissions

Related media
Commission media release


Commission granted amicus role in two Supreme Court cases


The Commission has been granted liberty by the Supreme Court to exercise its amicus curiae function in a case exploring how separated parents exercising joint custody of their children are treated when applying for housing assistance payment (HAP) under the Housing Act 2009.

The case (Fagan v. Dublin City Council) centres on a separated father of three children, Mr. Fagan who sought HAP assistance to accommodate himself and his children. The Council assessed him as a one-person household for the purposes of the Housing Act, notwithstanding his three-night per week custody and co-parenting rights to his children, and so regarded Mr. Fagan’s need as being for a single bedroom unit.

In November 2018, the High Court backed Dublin City Council’s decision but permission to appeal to the Supreme court was granted to Mr Fagan and his children in April 2019.

In a separate case, the Commission was also granted liberty from the Supreme Court to exercise its amicus curiae function in a case focused on marriage and family rights.

The case (MKFS v. the Minister for Justice and Equality) is expected to clarify whether a marriage contracted under the Civil Registration Act 2014 is valid where the Minister for Justice considers it to have been contracted for the purpose of obtaining EU law entitlements.

Related media
Commission media release (Fagan v. Dublin City Council)
Commission media release (MKFS v. the Minister for Justice and Equality)
Irish Legal News article


Commission sets out priority areas for State action combating violence against women


The Commission marked the entry into force of the Istanbul Convention for Ireland on 1 July, a Council of Europe treaty on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, by setting out its recommendations for key priority actions from the State.

As Ireland’s national human rights and equality body, we will actively participate in monitoring the implementation of the Convention in Ireland, and will independently reporting to the Council of Europe’s expert body (GREVIO) on State progress to combat and prevent violence against women and domestic violence.

Statement on the ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence

Related media
Irish Times article
Commission media release


UN High Commissioner for Refugees speaks at Commission event during State visit

During a two-day state visit to Ireland, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Mr Filippo Grandi spoke at a public event co-hosted by the Commission and the UNHCR. At the event, the High Commissioner discussed the protection and promotion of the rights of refugees in Ireland and launched UNHCR Ireland's Refugee Employment Toolkit, which aims to help businesses in Ireland employ refugees and asylum seekers. 

During his visit, Rohingya refugee Jamalida Rafique (11) presented Mr. Grandi with a letter seeking assistance for children living in refugee camps in Bangladesh’s southern Cox’s Bazar district, where she lived before her resettlement to Ireland, and around the world. Yemeni refugee Hamoud Althobani also spoke of his journey from conflict in Yemen to studying, working and playing football in Ireland over the past years.
UNHCR Ireland's Refugee Employment Toolkit
Related media
Irish Times image of day
Irish Times article
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Disability Rights: #AllHuman #AllEqual campaign making waves


The Commission's national awareness campaign “Because we’re all human. Means we’re all equal.” challenges societal and individual attitudes that limit people with disabilities’ participation in everyday life.

Running across cinema, radio and online over the summer, the campaign features 13 interviews with people from across Irish society, sharing personal perspectives on everyday life and some of the barriers encountered when living with autism, an intellectual disability or complex needs; being visually-impaired or blind, hard of hearing or Deaf; and having a physical disability or being affected by mental ill-health.

Follow the campaign on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtags #allhuman #allequal.

Campaign website
Participant videos
Radio advert feat. voice of Dr. Rosaleen McDonagh

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