Time to put policy ahead of politics to ensure Ireland brought in line with other jurisdictions
A group of over 30 civil society organisations, the Equality Budgeting Campaign, today welcomed the launch of Sinn Féin’s Equal Status (Amendment) Act 2013. The new bill proposes a radical overhaul of existing equality legislation in Ireland by imposing a positive duty on public bodies to ensure equality of opportunity. Spokesperson for the campaign, Dr. Clara Fischer, said that “the proposed legislation would bring Ireland in line with other jurisdictions, such as Northern Ireland and Scotland, by ensuring public authorities equality-proof their work. At present, Ireland is lagging behind its neighbours, especially as much our equality infrastructure has been dismantled since the onset of the economic crisis.”
The bill also entails publication of impact assessments, which would bring much-needed clarity and transparency to the budgetary process. “The budget is carried out in secret by four government ministers and the Taoiseach, with limited input from the rest of government, our legislature, and civil society stakeholders. It is unclear how decisions are arrived at, despite the fact that inequality has increased in recent years. Impact assessments, undertaken before final decisions on the budget are made, would allow us to examine how specific cuts or tax increases affect different sections of Irish society. Decision-making could then be based on evidence, in public, and with due regard to equality and justice.”
Spokesperson, Louise Bayliss said, “many of the measures proposed in this bill are already official Labour Party policy, adopted at last year’s Labour Party Conference. We hope TDs will put policy ahead of politics tonight, and show their support for equality.”
Further information on the bill:
About the Equality Budgeting Campaign:
The Equality Budgeting Campaign is a broad-based coalition of NGOs, trade unions and concerned individuals seeking the introduction of equality budgeting in Ireland. Members include the Irish Feminist Network, National Women’s Council of Ireland, SIPTU, SPARK (Single Parents Acting for the Rights of Kids), Campaign for Labour Policies, and Union of Students in Ireland. The campaign was set up in light of research showing increased levels of inequality in Ireland and the disproportionate disadvantaging of certain sections of Irish society by successive governments since the beginning of the economic crisis.
· 1 in 10 people in Ireland experiences food poverty – Carney & Maitre, “Constructing a Food Poverty Indicator for Ireland using the Survey of Income and Living Conditions”, Department of Social Protection, 2012
· The deprivation rate of families headed by lone parents increased from 44.1% in 2009 to 56% in 2011
· The percentage of children living in consistent poverty increased from 6.3% in 2008 to 9.3% in 2011
· Those who are unemployed saw their deprivation rate increase from 34.3% in 2009 to 42.4% in 2011 - CSO EU SILC 2011
· Following a report on poverty in Ireland in 2011, the UN Independent Expert on Human Rights and Poverty called on Ireland to immediately implement a human rights review of all budgetary and recovery policies
Further information available from here:
The News & Events page is used to release official IFN statements and advertise events.