I refer to the article entitled “DUP hits back at Dublin over human rights act reforms”, which appeared in the News Letter of May 15.
The article quotes Jeffrey Donaldson MP as follows: “It is notable that the Irish government failed to honour its commitments in the Belfast Agreement on the subject of human rights until last year when it finally established a human rights commission”.
This is inaccurate and we wish to correct the record.
The Irish Human Rights Commission (HRC), a statutorily constituted independent body, was established fourteen years ago in 2001 under the Human Rights Commission Acts of 2000 and 2001, to promote and protect the human rights of everyone in Ireland.
The establishment of the HRC was the fulfilment, on the part of the Irish Government, to the commitment made in the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement to establish human rights commissions on both parts of the island of Ireland.
A separate Equality Authority had been established in October 1999, and replaced the previous Employment Equality Agency. The Equality Authority was responsible for promoting equality and combating discrimination.
The Irish Government announced plans in 2011 to merge the Irish Human Rights Commission and the Equality Authority to establish a new Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.
The new Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) was established, as an independent statutory body, on 1 November 2014, under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014.
IHREC’s purpose is to protect and promote human rights and equality and to encourage the development of a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding in Ireland.
I would be grateful if you could bring this correction to the attention of your readership.
Director, Communications Unit, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Dublin