Prior to the preparation and drafting of the Equality Bill, the purpose of which is to amend the Employment Equality Act 1998 and the Equal Status Act 2000 to give effect to EU equality Directives 2000/43/EC (Race Directive), 2000/78/EC (Framework Employment Directive) and 2002/73/EC (Gender Equal Treatment in Employment Directive), the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform undertook a comprehensive consultation process.
With respect to the transposition of the employment aspect of the three directives, a discussion paper was presented to the social partners and other relevant interests in July 2002, some of whom subsequently made written submissions to my Department. A series of bilateral discussions followed in the latter half of 2002 with those bodies.
A less formal consultation process was also undertaken in relation to the race directive as it affects the Equal Status Act. This included the use of information meetings on the directives organised by the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism and other fora, such as the public consultation on the forthcoming National Action Plan against Racism, to disseminate interest and awareness among key interest groups in the race directive. Certain issues raised in the consultations have been taken into account in the Equality Bill 2004 which was published in January this year.