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Anti-Racism Measures

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 30 June 2020

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Questions (313)

Paul Murphy

Question:

313. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason a staff member of a company (details supplied) is sitting on the anti-racism committee in view of the involvement of the company in the private prison industry, multiple allegations of human rights abuses at its facilities and its involvement in the surveillance of asylum seekers in the UK. [13298/20]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

In determining the membership of the Anti-Racism Committee, my Department was eager to gain from the experience and expertise of a person with a management background who has contributed to the equality and diversity agenda within the corporate sector. The work of the Committee will be action-oriented and practical, and requires a membership with practical experience from varied sectors, including the corporate sector.

The individual to whom the Deputy is referring has been appointed to the Anti-Racism Committee in her personal capacity because of her considerable expertise at senior management level in promoting diversity and inclusion in side and outside the workplace. She has demonstrated a strong leadership role in championing diversity and inclusion within leadership roles in the corporate sector in Ireland and is personally very committed to this area. For her role and work in this area she was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite by the French Ambassador to Ireland.

As a member of the Anti-Racism Committee this individual does not represent the interests of a particular company; rather she is on the Committee to provide her expertise and experience in advancing inclusion, equality and diversity in the workplace from the corporate sector perspective.

Given her track record, I anticipate she will have extensive action-oriented and practical insights to inform the work of the Committee.

I acknowledge there have been concerns voiced regarding Sodexo in the United Kingdom. However, in Ireland Sodexo was awarded the Gold Standard in Excellence Through People by the National Standards Authority of Ireland in 2018. It was also voted one of the Best Large Workplaces in Ireland in 2018 by the Great Places to Work Institute. Sodexo Ireland has no role in managing any international protection accommodation centres in Ireland, nor does it run immigration detention centres as they are not used in Ireland. At a global level, the Sodexo Group has joined the G7 Business for Inclusive Growth (B4IG) coalition coordinated by the OECD. This is a coalition of 34 leading international companies who have made a commitment to step up business action to advance human rights throughout their value chains, by building inclusive workplaces and strengthening inclusion in their internal and external business ecosystems.

For these reasons, I am confident that the person in question is an appropriate member of the Anti-Racism Committee and that she will make a very valuable contribution to its work.

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