Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Questions (509)

Niall Collins

Question:

509. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will outline the governance arrangements that are currently in place regarding the operations of the Equality Authority and IHRC and the implications of these for the independent and effective operation of these bodies, in view of the fact that neither body has had a board in place since mid 2012; when the legislation to establish the Human Rights and Equality Commission will be before Dáil Éireann; and when the commission and chief commissioner will be in situ. [10094/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Human Rights Commission and the Equality Authority are currently in the process of merging to form the new Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC). This new streamlined body will be able to more effectively, efficiently and cohesively promote human rights and equality in Ireland.

The drafting of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Bill 2013 is at an advanced stage and I expect I will be in a position to bring this to Cabinet in the near future. Pending my being able to make an announcement in relation to appointments to the new Commission, I can inform the Deputy that the executive of both bodies have put a liaison mechanism in place to ensure the necessary preliminary arrangements for the merger can be progressed on an administrative basis. My Department has no role in this liaison mechanism and the effective operation and independence of IHREC in compliance with the Paris Principles is a key priority for me and not in doubt in the merger process.