Annual Report 2019

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The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission presents its Annual Report for 2019, our fifth full year of work as Ireland’s national human rights and equality body.

We look forward to continuing our mandate with renewed energy, hope and determination at a time when the promotion of a just and inclusive society has never been more important.

The report in English and as Gaeilge, along with a video 2019 in Review and selected highlights, can be found below.



The Your Rights service handled 2,165 public queries – a 27% increase on 2018

The Commission successfully provided legal assistance to a Syrian refugee who a high-street bank had refused to open a bank account for, on the ground of his Syrian nationality. The Workplace Relations Commission adjudication ordered the bank to pay compensation of €4,000 to the man, and ordered the bank to engage directly with the Commission to minimise the possibility of a re-occurrence of this type of incident.

The Commission also invited two banks to conduct Equality Reviews of their practices and procedures in relation to the provision of bank accounts to refugees and asylum seekers.

“The experience of humiliation, and being rejected, and having the door slammed in your face because of something you were born with – such as race – or something forced on you, such as being a refugee; I do not want this experience to happen to others.”

The Syrian man involved in the case


Our report to the UN made 150 recommendations for State action to tackle racism and discrimination

Ahead of Ireland’s examination under the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in December 2019, the Commission held consultations with 120 young people and with 40 civil organisations for our comprehensive report assessing Ireland’s performance since 2011.

The UN Committee’s ‘Concluding Observations’ offer a clear approach to steps the State should take to combat racial discrimination, recommending legislative, institutional and policy changes.

“The voice of young people is vital for change to happen and for our country to be more progressive, educated and compassionate.”

Farah El Neihum, a young person attending the youth consultation on racial discrimination


Ireland has the 3rd highest weekly hours of unpaid work for both men and women across EU Member States

The report Caring and Unpaid Work in Ireland from the Commission and the Economic and Social Research Institute investigates involvement in unpaid work in the areas of childcare, care of older adults or those with a disability, and housework.

We recommended that Article 41.2 of Ireland’s constitution be amended to recognise the value of unpaid care work in Ireland, and the public good provided by care work within and by families.

“People are living longer. . . but the people who traditionally looked after them, mostly women, are not available in the way that they used to be available.”

Bernie Bradley, member of the Commission’s Disability Advisory Committee


78% of people said there needs to be greater participation of people with disabilities in the workplace

RedC survey on the All Human, All Equal campaign

In June 2019, the Commission launched its national awareness campaign on disability rights, Because we’re all human. Means we’re all equal, aimed at challenging societal and individual attitudes that limit people with disabilities’ participation in everyday life.

We acted as amicus curiae (friend of the court) in a landmark Supreme Court case (Marie Daly v. Nano Nagle) on the right to reasonable accommodation for persons with disability in the workplace, and held a major national conference on achieving equality at work.

“Disability is not going away, it’s part of being human.”

Shelly Gaynor, campaign participant, member of the Disability Advisory Committee