Welcome to the newsletter of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission
 
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Issue 1 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

 
 

Joint Committee - Dublin meeting focuses on Brexit impacts with Tánaiste

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The statutory Joint Committee established under the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement to consider human rights issues in the island of Ireland, met in the Commission's Dublin offices to address the human rights and equality impacts of UK withdrawal from the EU.

Simon Coveney T.D., Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade with responsibility for Brexit, met the Joint Committee, made up of representatives of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. The Joint Committee held an exchange with the Tánaiste on the means of addressing the risks and challenges for people’s human rights and equality as the UK withdraws from the EU.

The Joint Committee also gathered evidence in its meeting from invited expert academics from Queen's University Belfast, Durham University, Ulster University and the University of Birmingham.

Related Media

RTÉ Drivetime interview with the two Chief Commissioners (piece at 1hr 52mins) 

Irish Legal News article

Commission media release

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade media release

 
 

Advancing human rights and equality in the courts - challenging discrimination against Travellers

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Members of the Traveller community denied service in a licenced premises, challenged their case in the District Court with legal representation provided by the Commission. The outcome saw a settlement secured in the case. The incident had seen the bar staff refusing to serve them claiming that only regulars were being served that night.

The licensed premises agreed to pay €6,000 compensation to each of the individuals, plus a further €500 payment to each, to be donated to a charity of their choice. It was a further condition of the settlement that the staff involved in the incident attend a course of equality training.

Under its legal functions set out in the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014, the Commission can, in certain circumstances, provide legal assistance to a person who wishes to bring a matter of human rights or equality of treatment before the Courts

Recent research prepared for the Commission by the ESRI entitled “Who experiences discrimination in Ireland”, has shown that Travellers continue to experience very high levels of discrimination and are over 22 times more likely to experience discrimination in Ireland in private services.

Resources

The report on who experiences discrimination in Ireland?

Related Media

Irish Times article

BreakingNews.ie article

Commission media release

 
 

Monitoring the State's human rights and equality obligations - Commission reports to ESCR on Social Charter Review

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The  European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) in its review of Ireland’s performance under the European Social Charter has highlighted a significant number of areas of non-compliance with the Charter.

The Commission, as Ireland’s National Human Rights and Equality body, submitted its independent report to the European Committee on Social rights in April 2017, ahead of Ireland’s review.

Some of the areas reflected in the ESCR findings, which were raised by the Commission include concerns over Ireland's enforcement of safety and health regulations, healthcare access for the most marginalised groups and shortcomings in relation to homeless services, domestic violence services, children’s services and services for persons with disabilities. Also highlighted were cuts to funding for the community and voluntary sector, the gender pension gap, and efforts to combat poverty and social exclusion in a context of economic growth.

Resources

Commission submission to the European Committee of Social Rights

European Commission on Social Rights conclusions in relation to Ireland (pdf download)

Related Media

Commission media release

 
 

Advancing human rights and equality in the courts - challenging housing discrimination

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The Commission provided legal assistance to a woman in her successful challenge of discrimination under the ‘housing assistance’ ground in the provision of accommodation.

The final determination of the case in the Workplace Relations Commission found that the woman had been directly discriminated against on the housing assistance ground, and it was ordered that €2,500 in compensation be paid. The outcome also instructed that all employees acting as the company’s estate agents be trained in relation to all provisions of the Equal Status Acts. 

The case focused on the woman’s experience in viewing and seeking to confirm a property for rental in March 2016. Since January 2016, when the Equal Status Act was amended, discrimination against prospective tenants of rental properties is prohibited under the ‘housing assistance’ ground. This means that the fact that a person wishing to rent a property is on housing assistance or other social welfare supports cannot be a reason to refuse them.

Resources

Housing assistance ground information

Related Media

Commission media release

 
 

Legislative monitoring for human rights and equality - precarious work & zero hours contracts

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Ahead of the publication of the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill by the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, the Commission submitted its preliminary legislative observations on the legislation, emphasising the need for those in precarious work to be afforded greater protection and security. The Commission highlighted that precarious hours of work and contracts can lead to insecurity of income, restrict the ability to organise family life, and inhibit the ability to secure loans and mortgage.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission made its legislative input to the Bill under its statutory mandate to review draft legislation, to make sure it meets with human rights and equality standards, and to inform policy makers where legislation has implications for human rights and equality in Ireland.

Related Media

Commission media release

 
 

Changing Places facility available for use

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A fully accessible Changing Places toilet facility is now available at the offices of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission at 16-22 Green Street, Dublin 7, and the Commission warmly welcomes people with disabilities and carers to drop in to use.

This purpose-built toilet facility gives people with disabilities and carers more space and the right equipment to take care of personal hygiene in safety and comfort.

Resources

The Commission's Changing Places Facility

 

 
 

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