Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 12 Mar 2003

Vol. 563 No. 2

Written Answers - Equality Authority Report.

Jack Wall


150 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will make a statement on the third annual report of the Equality Authority. [7361/03]

The Equality Authority was established on a designate basis on 8 March 1999 and on a statutory basis on 18 October 1999 with the coming into force of the Employment Equality Act 1998. The mandate of the Equality Authority is to work towards the elimination of discrimination and to promote equality of opportunity. Under section 54 of the 1998 Act, the Equality Authority is required to make an annual report to me within six months of the commencement of every calendar year. This report outlines its activities in the previous calendar year. There is also a statutory requirement to have copies of the report laid before each House of the Oireachtas.

The annual report of the Equality Authority for 2002 was laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas on 5 March 2003. I officially launched the report on behalf of the Equality Authority on 6 March 2003 and I welcome its publication. It outlines developments and initiatives undertaken by the authority in 2002 and details the number of queries for information on equality and related legislation in 2002. Almost half of these queries related to parental, maternity and adoptive leave entitlements. Case files on all nine grounds covered by the Employment Equality Act 1998 and the Equal Status Act 2000 were dealt with in 2002.

Among the initiatives undertaken by the Equality Authority in 2002 were the publication of two reports, entitled Implementing Equality for Older People and Implementing Equality for Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals, respectively. The first code of practice under the Employment Equality Act 1998 – the code of practice on sexual harassment and harassment in the workplace, was published in March 2002. The authority worked with the public sector to develop practical supports for the emergence of equality and diversity as key elements in the public sector commitment to quality customer service. Important initiatives were also developed by the authority in partnership with IBEC and ICTU, including the anti-racist workplace week in November 2002 and the second national family friendly workplace day in March 2002.