Roderic O’Gorman T.D., Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration, and Youth has today (21 April), published the Interim Report of the Independent Anti-Racism Committee, as part of the development of a new National Action Plan against Racism for Ireland.
To complement the publication of its Interim Report, the Anti-Racism Committee today opens its Public Consultation.
The Interim Report is the first Report from the Committee. It sets out the overall approach the Committee is taking to its work, which is in keeping with fundamental principles of human rights, and informed by United Nations guidance on tackling racism. In the Interim Report, the Committee introduces its guiding principles and understandings of racism; briefly summarises the societal and policy context for its work; and identifies some of the priority issues necessary to consider in the development of a new National Action Plan against Racism for Ireland.
In making its Interim Report to Government, the Committee made three recommendations for immediate action: remove Ireland’s reservation to Article 4 of the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination; take steps to put in place ethnic equality monitoring across all public services; and remove all barriers to accessing support for migrant women experiencing gender-based violence.
The Government has considered these recommendations and has asked Minister O’Gorman to bring forward proposals for their implementation.
The Anti-Racism Committee’s Public Consultation is now open for 12 weeks, from 21 April to 14 July 2021. Written submissions can be made by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
. A series of consultation events will be held in the coming weeks. Information on these events and how to register will be published on the Department’s website.
Alongside the Minister’s publication of the Interim Report, the Committee has published a consultation document to explain what the consultation is about and to highlight some important issues that members of the public are invited to give their views on. These include:
Access to Justice;
All forms of media and communications, including new technologies;
Employment, Education, Health and Accommodation;
Inclusion and Participation.
The Committee welcomes submissions from stakeholder organisations and members of the public on any areas that they feel should be addressed in Ireland’s National Action Plan Against Racism. The Committee intends to develop an Action Plan that is action-oriented and practical.
Publishing the Report and welcoming the launch of the Committee’s Public Consultation, Minister O’Gorman said:
“Racism is an ongoing and complex problem, the effects of which are felt throughout society, and I am committed to ensuring that this Government plays a leading role in tackling it. I look forward to the National Action Plan against Racism that is due later this year, and I will continue to work with the Committee as they proceed with this important work. This is why I welcome the launch of the Committee’s Public Consultation today as it gives everyone an opportunity to have their say about how we can effectively tackle racism in all its forms in Ireland today.
“I want to thank Caroline Fennell, the Committee’s Chair, and the members of the Anti-Racism Committee for their time and ongoing work. Racism is a serious issue in our society, and can manifest in many different aspects of people’s lives. I have brought this Interim Report to Cabinet and secured approval to consider pathways to implement these recommendations."
Independent Chair of the Anti-Racism Committee, Professor Caroline Fennell said:
“As Chair of the Anti-Racism Committee, I am pleased to present our Interim Report in accordance with our Terms of Reference. The Anti-Racism Committee is particularly cognisant of the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in which this report is presented, and the differential impact of the pandemic upon migrant workers, those living in direct provision, and members of the Traveller community. We are now embarking upon an intensive phase of stakeholder dialogue and consultation as part of the development of a new National Action Plan Against Racism.”
Established by Government in 2020, the Anti-Racism Committee has a mandate to review current evidence and practice and make recommendations to Government on how best to strengthen its approach to tackling racism, including drawing up a new Action Plan Against Racism for Ireland. The Chair, Caroline Fennell, Professor of Law at University College Cork and Commissioner with the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, was appointed in December 2019. The first full meeting of the Committee was held on 28 August 2020.
The Committee comprises people from diverse backgrounds, including those with lived experience of racism. The intention is that its work will be grounded in the lived reality of people’s lives and that the recommended Action Plan will be action-oriented and practical. Its members come from a wide range of sectors and backgrounds, recognising that racism can occur in many aspects of life and that broad experience and expertise need to be harnessed to develop an effective action plan address it. The Committee includes people from the business, education, local government, academic and advocacy sectors.
A full list of Committee members can be found here.
The Work of the Committee
The Committee will consult broadly in developing new ideas for fighting racism in Ireland. Following the public consultation, the Committee will recommend an action plan to Government towards the end of 2021.
The Terms of Reference of the Anti-Racism Committee are as follows:
To review the current evidence and outcomes, including identifying data gaps, in relation to racial discrimination in Ireland;
To examine and benchmark against international best practice in combating racism;
To hold stakeholder dialogue and consultation to identify the views of wider civil society; members of the public; members of the Oireachtas; the business sector; media and other relevant parties; relating to the development of a society where institutional and individual racism are not tolerated;
To develop a blueprint for a draft national strategy against racism;
To produce an interim report to Government not more than three months after its first meeting identifying priority issues and a programme of work for the Committee;
Having regard to the review of evidence, including state responses to UN and European commitments; international practice; the outcome of stakeholder dialogues; and taking account of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action; to provide a draft anti-racism strategy, containing a clear action plan, at the end of one year that:
>identifies priority issues to be addressed;
>makes recommendations on strengthening the Government’s approach to combating racism, building on the actions currently included in the Migrant Integration Strategy and the National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy;
>generates ideas and make recommendations for reducing racist abuse in the public space including online.
Minister Roderic O’Gorman brought the Committee’s Interim Report to Government and published it today, on 21 April 2021. The report sets out the Committee’s initial ideas and plans for developing the National Action Plan Against Racism, and three Interim Recommendations which the Committee consider a priority.
The Anti-Racism Committee’s Public Consultation is now open and will run for 12 weeks from Wednesday 21 April to Wednesday 14 July 2021. It gives everyone an opportunity to have their say about how we can effectively tackle racism in all its forms in Ireland today.