Thursday, 29 January 2004

Questions (26)

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

23 Mr. Rabbitte asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the progress made to date with regard to the operation of the Human Rights Commission; the number of staff now employed by the commission; the budget allocated to the commission for 2003; the services the commission is offering to the public; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2493/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform)

I refer the Deputy to my reply to a similar question on this matter on 25 November 2003. The Human Rights Commission has now recruited the final member of its administrative staff, which brings its staffing complement to the ten staff requested by it. The chief executive of the commission was appointed in June 2002.

The commission recently moved to its new permanent office accommodation which is located in Jervis House, Jervis Street, Dublin 1 and that will be a crucial factor which will enhance its capability to provide services to the public in line with its wide statutory mandate and remit, as outlined in section 8 of the Human Rights Commission Act 2000. In that regard, I direct the Deputy's attention to the commission's first strategic plan 2003 to 2006, which it published on 31 March 2003. The plan sets out the areas of work on which the commission proposes to focus over the next four years, and it is a key document in the process of the commission's ongoing consultation and dialogue.

The commission's budget for 2003 was €1.28 million. However, it also received an additional once off payment of €536,000 in 2003 to assist it in the acquisition of its new premises. The commission's budget for 2004 is €1.823 million.