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11/08/2017 12:00:00 AM


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Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017

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Second Stage

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Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017\Second Stage
Bills\Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017\Second Stage

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Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017

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Second Stage [Private Members]

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Senator


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Deputy Sean Sherlock

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Deputy Sean Sherlock

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Sean Sherlock

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Snippet Contents:

We are supporting the Bill without equivocation. We have had sight of the Equality and Rights Alliance publication by Tamas Kadar - forgive me if I am mispronouncing his surname. The analysis includes a recommendation for the introduction of socioeconomic status as a discrimination ground. The document refers to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Ireland ratified in 1989. It also refers to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which was also ratified in 1989 but, as of yet, Ireland has not adopted the optional protocol. Those covenants speak specifically to the issue of this legislation. The Equality and Rights Alliance Publication states: We could extend this to the right to a job or the right to be deemed eligible to apply for a job and the need to prevent being discriminated against on the basis of one's location.
I was hopeful that the Government response would be such that we could facilitate a further teasing out of the difficulties that exist in respect of the definitions. If it is the case that we have adopted and ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, then I am at pains to understand why the provisions have not been transposed. I stand open to correction on this point and the Minister of State might clarify in his response why the issue at hand as it relates to this legislation has not been dealt with. This is the basis on which we will support the legislation.
The culture that exists in the House now is such that individual Members propose legislation and it then goes through a process of legislative scrutiny. In this way we can at least facilitate Committee Stage interaction so as to tease out the issues at hand and any difficulties that the Government might have.
It has come to our attention today that a Minister of State of the Government has been found by the Workplace Relations Commission to have discriminated against a woman under the Employment Equality Act 1998. An article appeared today on the independent.ie website. It speaks to the WRC ruling in which the adjudication officer found the comments of the Minister of State to be outmoded. She stated, "It was ill-advised of the Minister of State to have so pointedly obtained information that had nothing to do with this candidate’s suitability for a position, and a position for which she had determined she was eligible to compete." The adjudication officer found that "the woman was put in a difficult situation in a job interview by reason of probing questions which went to the heart of her married and family life which historically could not be considered gender neutral questions". We are talking about equality.
If it is the case that a Minister of State of the Government or his Department has been ordered to pay €7,500 in compensation, then it is incumbent on the Minister of State to come before the House forthwith. It seems clear to me that he is absolutely and utterly in breach of the law. The Minister of State must now consider his position as a result. I find it an absolutely shocking situation that a member of the Government is in breach of such fundamental legislation. The decision and finding against him was unambiguous. I believe it puts his position as a Minister of State in jeopardy, having been in breach of and having broken the law. He needs to consider his position as a result of that breach.