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Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017

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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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Deputy James Browne

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James Browne

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Snippet Contents:

I thank Deputies O'Loughlin and O'Callaghan for their work on this important Bill, which aims to further ensure equality and fairness in our society. My party and I are committed to fighting discrimination and inequality at all levels in society. To that end, we introduced the Employment Equality Act and Equal Status Act in 1998 and 2000, respectively. With this Bill, these prove Fianna Fáil's commitment to making merit the only ground on which to assess someone's suitability for employment.
Current legislation exposes an area of inequality that needs to be resolved. With the introduction of this Bill, it will be established that an employer cannot discriminate based on disadvantaged socioeconomic status. Regardless of someone's socioeconomic disadvantage arising from poverty, level or source of income, homelessness, place of residence or family background, an employer will not, and should not, be able to put one person above another. If passed, the law will ensure that people are employed based on merit alone.
I am delighted to contribute on the Bill, as it tackles a problem that has been festering for many years. With this law in place, it will be a clear breach of the law to discriminate between job applicants based on, for example, the addresses on their CVs. A person's family background will not affect his or her job prospects. Someone who has lost a home will not face discrimination when applying for a job. When such cases arise in County Wexford, they are difficult to witness. Bright, hard working and determined people are losing out because the law does not protect them.
These arbitrary symbols will not affect people's employment if this legislation is passed. The Bill's strength is its ability to nip the problems facing those living in disadvantaged areas and those who are unemployed in the same manner. The Bill will help to stamp out the vicious cycle facing many people who, having been turned down for jobs for discriminatory reasons time and again, are often forced to stay in poverty traps. It gives young people hope that they will be able to press ahead, climb the ladder in the workforce and sketch out life's purpose.
It is a credit to my party colleagues, Deputies O'Loughlin and O'Callaghan, that the Bill has come to the floor of the Dáil. International human rights organisations have long called for the introduction of a social origin ground. This Bill is just one step on the long road to breaking down the barriers faced by those living in disadvantaged areas or from disadvantaged backgrounds. This Bill is about sending out a message to employers that discrimination in the workplace is illegal. Ultimately, the legislation's impact will be telling for those who feel the law and politics are not on their side. This Fianna Fáil Bill shows how that is changing bit by bit.