Written answers

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Department of Justice, Equality and Defence

Gender Discrimination

7:00 pm

Photo of Clare DalyClare Daly (Dublin North, Socialist Party)
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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]

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Defence; Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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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.

Comments

Cathal Garvey
Posted on 25 Jul 2011 11:03 pm (Report this comment)

Minister Shatter indicates that he did not include men in relation to Gender Discrimination but the word count of the document (accessible at http://parentalequality.ie/pe/default2.asp?active_page_id=94...) is 10,214, allowing for almost another 500 words or one full page. The excuse by the Minister is untenable.
Further, the Minster states that "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" but 4 of the 6 cases failed on technicalities, indicating that the legislation is not "sufficiently robust", despite the gender discrimination being obvious.
Finally, the question by Clare Daly did not refer to Family Law and so the reference by the Minister indicates a purposeful obstufication.

Would this mean that the Minister for Justice has misled the Dail?

Roger Eldridge
Posted on 26 Jul 2011 3:56 pm (This comment has been reported to moderators)

The Minister certainly has misled, not only the Dail, but the entire Nation. The passing of the Civil Partnership Act was accompanied by reassurances that it was not intended to undermine the Institution of Marriage or in any way equate with Marriage. Yet here we are, bold as brass, with only a few weeks on the job and already he has dishonored the office of Minister for Justice.

He says, "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"

The bias that Cathal raised with the Equality Authority and the legislation it refers to is on the ground of Marital status.The Minister is not only obfuscating, he is acting in contempt of the Constitution where he refers to "civil" status where the legislation refers specifically to marital status.

Any subsuming of "marital" status under the term "civil" status - meaning this covers both Marriages and Civil partnerships - as the Minister insists on is repugnant to the Constitution. He should apologise wholeheartedly and explain his error or resign.

God Bless, Roger Eldridge
Chairman, National Mens Council of Ireland
Executive Director, Family Rights and Responsibilities Institute of Ireland
National Office: Knockvicar, Boyle, Co. Roscommon
Website: www.family-men.com � Email: familymen@eircom.net �  �  �  �  �  �  � � 
Telephones: 00353 (0) 7196-67138 �  �  �  �  �  00353 (0) 83-3330256

NMCI - "Doing what men have always done � protecting their Families, Faith and Freedom from attack by the State"

Cathal Garvey
Posted on 3 Nov 2011 5:48 pm (Report this comment)

Roger,
I'm afraid the Minister was correct when he says, "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". The Act was amended in January 2011.
See http://www.equality.ie/index.asp?locID=106&docID=226 where it states that "The Act of 2000 is amended by substituting "civil status" for "marital status" wherever it appears".

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