Human rights are provided for at three levels: international, regional and domestic. The Policy and Engagement team engages internationally at the level of the United Nations and at a regional level with the Council of Europe and the European Union, producing parallel reports that measure the progress of the Irish Government against international treaty standards.
The Policy and Engagement team also co-ordinates the Commission’s work with three important international networks: GANHRI, the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions, ENNHRI, the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions and Equinet, the European Network of Equality Bodies.
The Commission keeps under review the adequacy and effectiveness of law and practice relating to the protection of human rights and equality in Ireland. The Policy and Engagement team examines draft legislation for human rights and equality compliance and makes recommendations to Government in relation to measures to strengthen, protect and uphold human rights and equality.
The Policy and Engagement team also promotes public understanding and support of human rights and equality through its communications campaigns, public engagement and public relations activities. A significant programme of work is underway in developing guidance and pilot projects with public bodies on implementing the new Public Sector Duty contained in section 42 of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014. This includes a one-year part-time Professional Diploma in Human Rights and Equality accredited by University College Dublin.
Ruth Gallagher is head of the Policy and Engagement team
The Commission places a strong emphasis on rigorous research evidence and analysis as key to authoritatively influencing policy change and to creating a deeper culture of human rights and equality. The Research team is responsible for strategically supporting the development of a robust evidence base that informs effective decision making on issues of human rights and equality in Ireland. The team does this by promoting and commissioning high quality, methodologically sound research and data collection in key areas. It also seeks to work in partnership with domestic and international research communities in equality and human rights. Current priorities include developing and commissioning research and policy analysis on: human rights and equality proofing of the national budget; data and measurement frameworks for socio-economic rights in Ireland; and interculturalism and related policy and measurement issues in regard to racism and inclusion. The Research team is also responsible for the Human Rights and Equality Grant Scheme 2016
Laurence Bond is head of the Research team and the current Acting Director.
The Legal team is responsible for supporting the performance of the Commission’s legal functions under the IHREC Act 2014, as well as for the provision of an in-house legal service.
The team appears on behalf of the Commission before statutory tribunals and courts. The Legal team’s solicitors also act on behalf of individuals to whom the Commission is providing legal assistance. The Legal team’s work involves the provision of advice and the conduct of litigation, in particular under the Employment Equality Acts 1998–2015, the Equal Status Acts 2000–2015, the European Convention on Human Rights Acts 2003 and 2014, and more generally in relation to the protection and promotion of human rights and equality.
The Information team provides information to the public on human rights and equality generally, including for example information on the Irish Constitution and the Employment Equality Acts 1998–2015, the Equal Status Acts 2000–2015, the European Convention on Human Rights Acts 2003 and 2014. While the Information team does not provide an advocacy or support service it can provide members of the public with relevant information and refer them to the appropriate body.
Michael O’Neill is head of the Legal and Information teams.
The work of the Corporate Services team focuses on building and maintaining systems for organisational development in relation to finance, governance and information and communication technology. The Corporate Services team supports the strategic growth of the Commission through human resource management, recruitment, learning and development and employee engagement. They also have responsibility for the following:
Kevin de Barra is head of the Corporate Services team