Thursday, 21 July 2011
Department of Justice, Equality and Defence
Question 508: To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality if, in relation to Ireland's national report in advance of the UN Universal Periodic Review, there is reference only to women's rights and gender equality and that discrimination against men who are fathers is not considered, despite certain cases at the Equality Tribunal (details supplied), which indicated such discrimination. [21955/11]
I should make the point at the outset that the Report is necessarily brief, as we were limited to a maximum of 10,700 words, or approximately 20 pages. The wide range of issues arising therefore are perforce covered in a concise style. The prohibition in our laws against discrimination on a range of grounds – including on gender, civil status and family status grounds – is referenced in a number of sections in the Report. It is important to make the point that men are protected by these three grounds (which are the specific grounds most relevant to the matters raised in the Deputy's question). As indicated in the case reports referred to by the Deputy, the existing body of legislation is sufficiently robust to deal with discrimination against either men and women on these grounds.
In relation to family law issues, I would draw the Deputy's attention to paragraphs 93 and 94 of the Report. The commitment contained therein is a specific response to issues raised by groups representing men in the public consultation process and in submissions.