European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)

Fourth report on Ireland [en] - [fr]

Press Release – 19.02.2013

 

Council of Europe’s Anti-Racism Commission publishes new report on Ireland

Strasbourg, 19.02.2013 - The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) today published its fourth report on Ireland. ECRI’s Chair, Ms Eva Smith, welcomed positive developments, but regretted that a number of concerns persisted. For example, a single protection determination procedure for persons in need of a protection status has not been adopted in Ireland and asylum seekers may not engage in paid employment.

Ireland has a good system for registering racist criminal offences. In 2007 the Office of the Press Ombudsman and the Press Council were established to provide a new system of independent regulation for the printed media; a new voluntary Code of Practice for Newspapers and Magazines, prohibiting inter alia the publication of material intended or likely to cause grave offence or stir up hatred on the basis of race, religion, nationality, colour, ethnic origin, and similar grounds, was adopted; the National Employment Rights Authority (NERA), was established to monitor and enforce respect of employment rights.

However, the legislation does not proscribe racial profiling by the Garda Siochána (Police) and other law enforcement agencies, although the High Court in 2011 struck down as unconstitutional legislation requiring non-Irish nationals to produce identity documents upon demand of law enforcement personnel, which had a discriminatory effect on the basis of individuals’ colour. Moreover, the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism (NCCRI) was closed down in December 2008 and the unique reporting system about racist incidents was lost.

In its report, ECRI has made a number of recommendations to the authorities, among which the following three require priority implementation and will be revisited by ECRI in two years’ time:

  • Draft and adopt as soon as possible the Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill so as to put in place one procedure for dealing with applications for asylum and subsidiary protection, introduce a long-term residence status and procedures for registration of non-national minors under 16;
  • Rationalise the various procedures for dealing with complaints concerning employment and ensure that there is a non-judicial independent authority competent to deal with cases of discrimination in the provision of goods and services;
  • Ensure foreseeability in the application of the habitual residence requirement by setting out clear rules and publishing, in addition to the Guidelines, the decisions of the authorities on appeals against negative decisions.

The report is available here It was prepared following ECRI’s contact visit to Ireland in February 2012 [Press Release – 15.02.2012] and takes account of developments up to 5 December 2012.

ECRI is a human rights body of the Council of Europe, composed of independent experts, which monitors problems of racism, discrimination on grounds of ethnic origin, colour, citizenship, religion and language (racial discrimination), as well as xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance, prepares reports and issues recommendations to member States.

For more information on ECRI: www.coe.int/ecri

Press contact: Stefano Valenti, Tel: +33 (0)3 90 21 43 28, stefano.valenti@coe.int