IHREC recommends reforms to Ireland’s Equality Laws

The 70-page report by IHREC details a thorough review of the Equality Acts and makes many recommendations for Irish laws going forward.

Leinster House, The Dáil, Dublin
Image: YouTube @thebettyfordclinic

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) has brought out a report detailing over 60 recommendations “on how Ireland’s Equality Laws need to be reformed, updated and improved”, according to their Twitter account.

The report covers a number of areas that require reform, including Access to Justice under the Equality Acts, Discriminatory Grounds, Exemptions to the Prohibition of Discrimination, Employment Equality Acts and Procedural and Other Issues in the Equality Acts.

“The next generation of equality legislation needs to combat all emerging and cumulative forms of discrimination, comply with European and international legal frameworks, ensure awareness of rights, mandate disaggregated data, and address the existing procedural and accessibility issues impacting on access to justice,” the report reads.

“It also needs to adopt a proactive model of promoting equality and ensuring compliance, including by further shifting the burden onto the State to identify, mitigate and respond to equality issues that may arise.”

Dating back to December 2021, the report specifically calls for the protection of Transgender, non-binary and intersex people under Irish law in a section on the Grounds of Discrimination.

“We welcome and indeed echo calls by the IHREC for Trans, Non-Binary and Intersex people to be explicitly covered as part of this welcome and timely update of our equality legislation,” stated Adam Long, Board Director with the National LGBT Federation. “As far back as 2016, a part of our annual Dublin Pride Political Debate, a Govt Minister on my panel committed to such a policy.”

Among other recommended changes, the report also seeks to better protect the children of LGBTQ+ families. It states:

“Private primary schools and all secondary schools can currently refuse to admit a student on the basis of religion where: ‘it is proved that the refusal is essential to maintain the ethos of the school’. Clarity is needed in the law on the definition of ‘ethos,’ and precisely what would be required to establish that such a refusal was ‘essential’ to school ethos.”

You can read the report and IHREC recommendations in full here.

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