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Question

166. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the steps that have been taken to conduct research into the implications of the Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47374/18]

Answer

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): As you know Deputy, the Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017 was introduced by both you and your colleague Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin on 27 June 2017. The Bill completed Second Stage and was referred to the Select Committee on Justice and Equality on 9 November 2017.
I indicated during the Second Stage debate that research was needed to develop our understanding of discrimination where it takes place on a socio-economic basis and to inform how a provision should be framed if it proves necessary to amend the equality legislation accordingly.
In June 2018, a Request For Tender (RFT) for research on adding socio-economic status as an additional ground in the equality legislation was issued. Unfortunately, no tenders were received at that time.
The Department of Justice and Equality has again issued the request for tender on 6 November inviting tenders from researchers to carry out this research. A deadline has been set for completion of the research by 7 January 2019 to enable the Government to have the research ready for consideration by the Oireachtas during its next session.
The research is intended to have the following objectives:
- To provide an evidence base to enable the Government to determine whether or not the inclusion of an additional discriminatory ground into the equality legislation would be an effective and proportionate remedy to issues potentially arising in relation to discrimination against those experiencing socio-economic disadvantage.
- To inform the Government of expert advice on the legal implications of adding such an additional discriminatory ground into the equality legislation, on how it might be defined and on the steps that might be taken to ensure its workability, having regard to the fields to which equality legislation currently applies and the exemptions contained therein.
- To advise the Government from a legal perspective as to the preferred formulation of an additional discriminatory ground if the Government were to determine that such needed to be added to the equality legislation.