135. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Justice and Equality her views on the situation faced by LGBTQ persons; if consideration will be given to a review by her Department to identify any discriminatory practices.; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20219/15]


Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin): The Employment Equality Acts 1998 - 2011 and the Equal Status Acts 2000 - 2012 prohibit discrimination on nine grounds including sexual orientation in the areas of employment and access to goods and services. The adequacy of the legislation is kept under regular review by my Department and amended as necessary in the light of experience with its operation, case law and requirements arising under European law. In recognition of the need to better balance the right of LGBTQ employees in publicly funded religious run institutions to protection from discrimination with the right of religious freedom, the Government has accepted the principle of the Employment Equality (Amendment) (No.2) Bill currently before the Seanad. Once drafted and approved by Government, I intend to publish a number of amendments to the Bill when the Seanad Committee Stage debate resumes with a view to its early enactment.
It is my firm policy and that of Government that all persons, including LGBTQ persons, should be free of discrimination and enjoy equal rights. In this regard, section 42 of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Act 2014 places an obligation on public bodies in performing their functions to have cognisance for the need to eliminate discrimination, promote equality of opportunity and protect human rights. The Commission may assist public bodies in developing policies, good practices and operational standards for the discharge of this duty.