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Amalgamation plan opposed by agencies

Resource type: News

The Irish Times |

by DEAGLáN de BRéADÚN GOVERNMENT PROPOSALS to amalgamate the Equality Authority, Equality Tribunal and Irish Human Rights Commission are being opposed by a broad-based campaign of community and voluntary organisations. An initial meeting organised in Dublin by the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) on August 14th was attended by representatives of Amnesty International, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, the Irish Refugee Council, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, Comhlámh, the Children’s Rights Alliance and others. “The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the implications of the proposed amalgamation and encourage as many agencies with an equality, human rights and social justice focus to make our diverse voices heard on this serious development. “One of the actions agreed at that meeting was to inform as wide a range of potentially supportive organisations and individuals as possible to support the overall strategy, over the next few weeks, of using this as an opportunity to promote the granting of full human rights in accordance with international standards and to strengthen the entire equality and human rights sector,” the NWCI said. Another meeting is scheduled for next Monday in Dublin, “to take the campaign one step further”. The campaigners are also concerned about the “uncertain future” of the Combat Poverty Agency. The Government is also proposing, as part of its economic stringency programme, to merge the National Disability Authority and the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner with the equality and human rights bodies. All five agencies operate under the aegis of the Department of Justice.