The Minister of State with responsibility for Equality issues, Mr. Seán Power T.D., today announced that Government has approved the appointment of the new board of the Equality Authority.
The new chairperson of the Authority is Dr. Angela Kerins. Dr. Kerins is currently chair of the National Disability Authority and Chief Executive of the Rehab Group.
The members of the Board are:
Dr. Angela Kerins, Chairperson, Chief Executive Rehab.
Mr. Nigel Brander, People with Disabilities Ireland (PWDI).
Mr Sean Fogarty, Outgoing Chair, Munster Council GAA.
Mr. Frank Goodwin, Chairperson of the Carers Association.
Ms. Salome Mbugua, National Director of the African Women’s Network of Ireland (AkiDwA).
Mr. Niall McCutcheon, Principal Officer, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform.
Ms. Ellen Mongan, National Traveller Monitoring Advisory Committee.
Ms. Theresa Murphy, Chairperson of the National Women’s Council of Ireland.
Ms. Betty O’Leary, Barrister, member of the National Disability Authority.
Mr. Kieran Rose, Chairperson of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network.
Making the announcement Minister Power said: "I would like to take this opportunity to wish the new Board of the Equality Authority well in their work over the coming four years. The Authority has a lead role to play in contributing to a society where diversity is valued and where those experiencing discrimination can instead experience and enjoy equality and inclusion".
The Minister also said he will make further appointments shortly. In particular, he will appoint two people (one male and one female) to be nominated by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and two people (one male and one female) to be nominated by IBEC. The Board is appointed for four years.
2 August 2007
Note for Editors
The Equality Authority
The Equality Authority was established in 1999 under the Employment Equality Act 1998. Its functions and powers were further expanded under the Equal Status Act 2000 and the Equality Act 2004. It is also accorded a number of functions under the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2003.
This legislation establishes general functions for the Equality Authority. These include:
- To work towards the elimination of discrimination in relation to the areas covered by the Employment Equality Acts 1998 and 2004 and the Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2004.
- To promote equality of opportunity in relation to the areas covered by the Employment Equality Acts 1998 and 2004 and the Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2004.
- To provide information to the public on the working of the Employment Equality Acts 1998 and 2004, the Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2004, the Maternity Protection Acts 1994 and 2004 and the Adoptive Leave Act 1995. The Parental Leave Act 1998 also accords the Equality Authority an information role on the provisions of the legislation.
- To keep under review the working of the Employment Equality Acts 1998 and 2004, the Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2004, the Maternity Protection Acts 1994 and 2004 and the Adoptive Leave Act 1995 and to make recommendations for necessary change to the Minister.
This legislation provides the Equality Authority with a range of explicit powers to implement these functions. These include:
- To provide assistance at its discretion to those who consider that they have been discriminated against (under the Employment Equality Acts, Equal Status Acts and Intoxicating Liquor Act) if there is an important point of principle involved or if it is unreasonable to expect the person to represent themselves.
- To take cases in its own name in certain circumstances.
- To prepare, for submission to the Minister, Codes of Practice which, if approved, can be relied on in relevant court proceedings.
- To invite a business to carry out an equality review and to prepare and implement an equality action plan or, where appropriate and where the business does not have less than fifty employees, to carry out such a review and prepare such an action plan on its own initiative.
- To conduct an inquiry for any purpose connected with its functions and to recommend actions on foot of this inquiry.
- To undertake or sponsor research.
- To undertake or sponsor activities related to the dissemination of information.
The Employment Equality Acts 1998 and 2004 prohibit discrimination in the workplace. The Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2004 prohibit discrimination in the provision of goods and services, accommodation and educational establishments. Separate provision is made in relation to registered clubs. Claims of discrimination in relation to licensed premises are governed by the provisions of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2003. The legislation covers the nine grounds of gender, marital status, family status, age, sexual orientation, disability, race, religion and membership of the Traveller community.