Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

Overview:

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is Ireland’s national human rights and equality institution.
We are an independent public body that accounts to the Oireachtas, with a mandate established under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014 (IHREC Act 2014). The IHREC Act includes and further enhances the functions of the former Irish Human Rights Commission and the former Equality Authority.
Our purpose is to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding across Irish society.

Brief history

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission was established on 1 November 2014, under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014. In undertaking its mandate the Commission is obliged by section 10(3) of the Act to exercise its functions with a view to encouraging and supporting the development of a society in which:

  • There is respect for, and protection of, each person’s human rights
  • There is respect for the dignity and worth of each person
  • A person’s ability to achieve his or her potential is not limited by prejudice, discrimination, neglect or prohibited conduct
  • Each person has a fair and equal opportunity to participate in the economic, political, social or cultural life of the State
  • There is mutual respect between persons, including classes of persons, based on a shared understanding of the value of diversity within society and on a shared respect for equality and human rights

Mandate Type

Predominantly promotion-type and legal support body

Litigation power:

  • Representing in front of courts
  • Bringing proceedings in own name
  • Intervening before the court

Activities

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Activities aimed at supporting vulnerable groups ( e.g. through trainings )
Activities aimed at supporting duty bearers such as employers and service providers (e.g. through trainings, guidance material, practical support, etc.)
Communication activities (e.g. awareness raising campaigns)
Recommendations on discrimination issues
Publications and reports
Research projects (including surveys)

Our institution has a mandate to deal with:

  • Violence against women
  • UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
  • Hate crime
  • Hate speech
  • Freedom of movement for workers

Other statistics:

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Number of inquiries handled per year (all contact even if not resulting in a formal complaint)49053585359429502994987
Number of cases handled per year (case files opened and processed according to your procedures)33228919616412553
Number of media appearances per year (major newspapers/magazines/websites/blogs, TV + radio channels) - does not include social media

Management

  • Single headed equality body (led by director or ombudsman/commissioner)

Management details

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is Ireland’s national human rights institution and national equality body.
Our work is determined independently by the fifteen members of the Commission who were appointed by our Head of State, the President of Ireland and account directly to the Houses of the Oireachtas.

Additional details

We are an independent public body that accounts to the Oireachtas, with a mandate established under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014 (IHREC Act 2014). The IHREC Act includes and further enhances the functions of the former Irish Human Rights Commission and the former Equality Authority.

Our purpose is to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding in the State.

Our work is determined independently by the fifteen members of the Commission who were appointed by our Head of State, the President of Ireland. The diverse membership of the Commission broadly reflects the nature of Irish society.

Procedure for nomination and appointment of management and board

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014, Article 12 sets out the Membership of Commission, while Article 13 sets out Appointment of members of Commission.

Number of staff dealing with equality issues

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
46473432343645

Grounds and fields of discrimination covered by the equality body

Grounds / Fields Employment Education Housing Social Protection & Healthcare Goods and Services Other
Gender
Gender Identity
Race and Ethnic Origin
Age
Disability
Sexual Orientation
Religion & Belief

Mandate covers:

  • Public sector
  • Private sector

We are accountable to

  • National Parliament