Thursday, 16 December 2021
Department of Finance
151. To ask the Minister for Finance the correspondence he has had with the Irish Equality and Human Rights Commission, the Central Bank and the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman regarding the operation and enforcement of section 5 of the Equal Status Acts with respect to the provision and disposal of financial services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [62367/21]
I have not had correspondence with the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission regarding the operation and enforcement of section 5 of the Equal Status Acts regarding the provision and disposal of financial services. Nor have I had correspondence with either the Central Bank or the Financial Services and Pension Ombudsman in relation to the issue.
The Deputy may wish to note that the Equal Status Acts 2000-2018, fall under the remit of my colleague, the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth. On a general level, the Equal Status Acts prohibit certain kinds of discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities and services, obtaining or disposing of accommodation and in relation to educational establishments. The legislation protects against discrimination on nine specific grounds. With regard to financial services, the legislation also provides that people can be treated differently on any of the grounds (except gender) in relation to certain annuities, pensions, insurance policies or other matters related to the assessment of risk – but only where the differences are based on actuarial or statistical data or other relevant underwriting or commercial factors and are reasonable.
Complaints regarding conduct prohibited under the Equal Status Acts should be referred to the Workplace Relations Commission, a body under the aegis of my colleague the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment.