Tuesday, 14 October 2003
Dáil Eireann Debate
Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. McDowell): A review of the discriminatory grounds covered by the Employment Equality Act 1998 was carried out in 2001 in accordance with section 6(4) of the Act. In the course of the review, it was argued that the Act should be amended to include the grounds of socio-economic status, including social origin or social origin as a separate ground, trade union membership, criminal conviction or ex-prisoner, ex-offender, and political opinion.
In view of the complexity of the grounds suggested, the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform commissioned research on international experience and legislation in the area and it is expected that the outcome of the research will be published shortly. The Government is committed under Sustaining Progress to completing the review of the discriminatory grounds.
The research, when published, will inform future policy decisions in regard to whether extension of the discriminatory grounds for the purposes of the Employment Equality Act 1998, is appropriate. Review of the Equal Status Act 2000 will be considered within the context of the report and evaluation of its implications for the Act.
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