Tuesday, 29 January 2019
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Human Rights Committees
92. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will report on the inaugural meeting of the business and human rights implementation group which took place on 16 January 2019; the plan of work for the group in 2019; and if the group will be working with semi-State companies here to ensure effective human rights due diligence is taking place. [3964/19]
The establishment of the Business and Human Rights Implementation Group is a key commitment of the National Plan on Business and Human Rights. I am very grateful to have secured the agreement of Ms Breege O’Donoghue, formerly Primark’s Group Director of New Markets and Business Development, to chair the Group, which brings together representatives of 23 organisations, from Government Departments and state agencies, the business sector and civil society, to monitor the delivery of the actions identified in the Plan, including those related to due diligence.
I was pleased to be able to participate in the first meeting of the Group on 16 January. In my opening remarks, I reiterated my conviction that the implementation of the National Plan must be a collective endeavour and the role of the Group will therefore be critical to its success. I was particularly keen to hear the views from the business and civil society representatives and overall I was impressed by the positive and constructive ideas put forward.
To guide the work of the Group, my Department commissioned a baseline assessment on the current legislative and regulatory framework for business and human rights in Ireland from independent consultants, in line with another key commitment in the National Plan. The Group received a short presentation on the draft study and it is expected that a more detailed consideration of its contents, including recommendations for action, will take place at the next meeting of the Group in early April. The document is currently being finalised and will shortly be uploaded to the website of my Department.