Written answers

Thursday, 2 December 2021

Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth

Equality Issues

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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152. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth the extent to which his Department continues to monitor any breaches of equality legislation whether of a gender, race or sexuality origin; the extent of progress made towards corrective measures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [59745/21]

Photo of Roderic O'GormanRoderic O'Gorman (Dublin West, Green Party)
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While I have responsibility for monitoring the effectiveness of the equality legislation, the role of monitoring the prevalence of discrimination and prejudice in Irish society is undertaken by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) which is Ireland’s national human rights and equality institution and is an independent public body that accounts directly to the Oireachtas. Its purpose is to promote and protect human rights and equality in Ireland and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding in the State. In mid-October 2020 the transfer took place of the Governance function of IHREC from the Department of Justice and Equality to my Department.

Significant advances have been made in recent years to address inequality in Irish society, with the Government’s commitment to fostering a diverse, inclusive and equal society re-affirmed through the Programme for Government commitments to achieve social solidarity, equality of opportunity and economic equity for all.

The suite of national equality strategies, overseen and coordinated by my Department, act as the central policy framework adopted by Government to address inequality across Irish society. The strategies include the Migrant Integration Strategy (MIS), the National Strategy for Women and Girls (NSWG), the National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy (NTRIS), the National Disability Inclusion Strategy (NDIS), the National LGBTI+ Inclusion Strategy, the National LGBTI+ Strategy for Youth and the Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities (CES).

The implementation of each equality strategy is overseen by a steering committee which draws together State and non-State actors to deliver a better quality of life for all through targeted actions to promote social inclusion and improved access to public services. I chair the meetings of the committees charged with the monitoring and oversight of the strategies, with the exception of the National Disability Inclusion Strategy steering group which is chaired by my colleague the Minister of State, Deputy Anne Rabbitte T.D., and the Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities which is chaired by Fergus Finlay.

As some of these strategies near their conclusion, I will work with stakeholders to examine what has been achieved over their term and how we can bring forth the next iterations of those strategies and ensure they are even more robust and effective.

In June of this year I announced my intention to conduct a review of the Employment Equality and Equal Status Acts to examine the functioning of the Acts and their effectiveness in combatting discrimination and in promoting equality, including awareness of the legislation and whether there are obstacles to taking an action under the Acts. The first phase of the public consultation process has commenced and the views of the public and interested organisations are being sought on the effectiveness of the legislation and whether, in their view, legislative amendments are required.  

In response to requests from stakeholders, I recently announced the extension of the period of public consultation for the Equality Acts Review. The new deadline for submissions is 8 December 2021.


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