Racist Crime and Racial Discrimination - Responsible bodies
Racist crimeRacist crime (which is dealt with under the criminal law) is a matter for the Minister for Justice and Equality and An Garda Síochána (Irish Police Force). The Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration monitors trends in racist crime and publishes trend tables on its website (www.integration.ie).The tables break down the racist crime incidents into ten categories of crime. A breakdown is only available for statistics from 2006 onwards and where there are five or more of a particular offence recorded. All racist crime offences where there are fewer than five incidents of a particular type recorded are recorded under the heading "Other offences". Further disaggregation is not possible in published statistics as the Central Statistics Office (who compile all crime statistics) are concerned that it might lead to the identification of victims.
Racial discriminationDiscrimination on the ground of race is prohibited by law in the provision of goods and services (dealt with under the civil law Equal Status Acts) or in employment (dealt with under the civil law Employment Equality Acts). This legislation falls within the remit of the Minister for Justice and Equality. For the purpose of equality legislation the ground of race is defined as being of different race, colour, nationality or ethnic or national origins. Discrimination and harassment in relation to recruitment, conditions of employment and pay on nine grounds, including race, religious belief and membership of the Traveller community, are outlawed under the Employment Equality Acts 1998 to 2011. Discrimination and harassment on the same grounds in the supply of goods or services, education and housing are prohibited under the Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2012. You can find copies of these acts on the website http:www.irishstatutebook.ie.
You can find a Guide to the Employment Equality Acts, 1998-2011 at this link - http://www.ihrec.ie/download/pdf/ihrec_employment_equality_rights_explained.pdf
You can find a guide to the Equal Status Acts, 2000-2012 at this link - http://www.ihrec.ie/download/pdf/ihrec_equal_status_rights_explained.pdf
The equality legislation also permits complaints to be referred in respect of discrimination on any combination of one or more of the nine discriminatory grounds. An additional ground (the "housing assistance ground") was added in an Act of 2015 covering discrimination in the supply of housing against people in receipt of rent supplement, housing assistance or any payment under the Social Welfare Acts. Link to Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015.
Discrimination on the ground of race is also prohibited in relation to occupational pensions under the Pensions Act 1990, which falls within the remit of the Minister for Social Protection.
Multiple grounds were specified in approximately one fifth to one quarter of complaints referred annually to the Equality Tribunal until it was merged with the Workplace Relations Commission.
Statistics obtained from the Equality Tribunal (before it became part of the Workplace Relations Commission) on the number of cases taken before the Tribunal on the race ground each year are available here on this page of the OPMI website - http://www.integration.ie/website/omi/omiwebv6.nsf/page/statistics-RacistIncidentsstatistics-EqTribcasesdecisions-en
The Statutory Equality AgenciesTwo agencies were established under the equality legislation - the Equality Authority and the Equality Tribunal.
The Equality Authority's functions were to combat discrimination and promote equality of opportunity in the areas covered by equality legislation, to monitor and keep this legislation under review and to make recommendations to the Minister for change. The Equality Authority's powers included those of providing legal assistance to and taking cases on behalf of claimants under the Acts and conducting research on equality related issues, conducting equality reviews and action plans, preparing codes of practice, conducting inquiries.
The Authority also published a number of reports assessing levels of discrimination in Ireland, including on the race ground. One of its most recent reports on discrimination on the race ground is Ethnicity and Nationality in the Irish Labour Market: Evidence from the QNHS Equality Module 2010, (ESRI, 2013). This study examined whether immigrants in Ireland faced less favourable prospects and reported higher levels of discrimination in the labour market than the native-born population.
PRESENT SITUATIONA new Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, formed by the merger of the Equality Authority and the Human Rights Commission, continues to provide advice and assistance to persons wishing to pursue complaints on the 10 grounds of discrimination unlawful under the Acts. It has enhanced powers and functions and will be able to provide advice and assistance on both equality and human rights issues in an integrated way.
The Equality Tribunal has been replaced by the Workplace Relations Commission (formed by the merger of the Labour Relations Commission, Employment Appeals Tribunal and National Employment Rights Authority). Despite its name, it hears complaints under both the Employment Equality Acts and the Equal Status Acts. It is an independent statutory office which investigates or mediates complaints of unlawful discrimination. It operates in accordance with the principles of natural justice and its core values are impartiality, professionalism, accessibility and timeliness. The Commission has jurisdiction in all the areas covered by the Equality legislation, with the exception of service in licensed premises where claims of discrimination can be brought before the District Court under the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2003.
You can find information on how to make a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission under the Equal Status Acts at this link -
You can find information on how to make a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission under the Employment Equality Acts at this link -
Garda Síochána (Irish Police Force) Ombudsman CommissionThe Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission is an independent police complaints authority established by the Garda Síochána Act 2005. It became operational in May 2007. It is responsible for receiving and dealing with all complaints made by members of the public concerning the conduct of members of An Garda Síochána. The number of complaints made in 2011 alleging discrimination on the grounds of race or religion was 27. Statistics for previous years are available on the website of the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration at this link:
Racist material on the internetRacist material on the internet is a matter for the Minister for Justice and Equality, An Garda Síochána and the Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) Hotline (www.hotline.ie) which was launched in 1999 to provide an anonymous reporting service to members of the public who uncover illegal content on the internet. The hotline was established primarily to report incidences of Child Pornography but later became the responsible body for receiving reports of financial scams and racist material. The primary work of the Irish Hotline service is to remove illegal material on websites hosted in Ireland. If hotline.ie assesses the material to be probably illegal under Irish Law the location of the illegal material is then traced. If found to be hosted or distributed from Ireland, An Garda Síochána and the relevant ISPAI member are notified, so the material can be removed from public internet access and an investigation may be initiated. However, some material that is reported is contained on sites hosted in other jurisdictions. If reported material is found to be hosted outside Ireland, details of the illegal content are forwarded via the "INHOPE" hotline. INHOPE, the International Association of Internet Hotlines, exchanges reports of illegal on-line content to expedite the investigation of such material by the competent law enforcement body in the countries in which the material associated with each report is hosted. Where the source country does not have an INHOPE member Hotline, the report is sent to An Garda Síochána for transmission through police channels. In some countries, for example the United States, the INHOPE hotlines deal solely with reports of child pornography.
Press Council of Ireland, the Press Ombudsman and the Broadcasting Authority of IrelandComplaints can also be made to the Press Council of Ireland, the Press Ombudsman and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland in appropriate cases.
LegislationLegislation (criminal law) regarding racist crime is the responsibility of the Minister for Justice and Equality. Legislation (civil law) in relation to racial discrimination is also a matter for the Minister for Justice and Equality.
A - Civil Law
- Equality Acts (see above)
B - Criminal Law
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