Print FriendlyPrint This Article

New Human Rights and Equality Commission; Traveller ethnicity

The Minister for Justice & Equality told Pearse Doherty (SF, Donegal SW) and Padraig MacLochlainn (SF, Donegal NE) that the new Human Rights and Equality Commission would have enhanced powers (Dail Eireann, Debates, 11th December 2012, 52-3) .  Their new functions would involve a ‘levelling upward’ rather than downwards of their functions.  He hoped to publish legislation as soon as possible in the new year. 


He then informed Dessie Ellis (SF, Dublin NW) that he planned to publish the report of a conference on the issue of Traveller ethnicity held in Dublin Castle earlier in the year (Dail Eireann, Debates, 11th December 2012, 53-4).  He had no plans to introduce legislation, but serious consideration was being given to the issue.  Padraig MacLochlain, who described himself as coming from the Traveller tradition – his mother and grandmother were Travellers – said that there had been foot-dragging on the issue for some time.  The minister told him that it was important decisions not be taken that had unintended consequences.  He hoped that the conference report would lead to further discussion.  Other departments were involved.  He asked whether separate ethnic identity would bring about changes in such issues as the life span of Travellers.  He also wanted to make sure that, if we went down this route, members of the Traveller community favoured it.