An Irish academic has been honoured by the Queen for radical reform of UK law to tackle institutional racism.
NUI Maynooth lecturer Seamus Taylor used recommendations from the Stephen Lawrence inquiry to rewrite race relations legislation and force 42,000 public bodies, including the police, to positively promote equality.
An investigation into the teenager’s 1993 death in south London famously found the Metropolitan Police was institutionally racist.
Mr Taylor was awarded a CBE in the New Year Honours after drafting laws designed to tackle and reduce discrimination.
“I believe that living together successfully in our diversity and ensuring fair treatment for all are key challenges for Britain and Ireland today,” he said.
“The progress that I contributed to in the UK was made possible by the support of the diverse communities I work with from whom I learnt so much.”
An inquiry into the 18-year-old A-level student’s knife killing centred on the Met’s failure to find and charge those responsible.
But another legacy of his death is the 70 recommendations from the inquiry and subsequent laws designed to force a sea change of attitude to race in UK state bodies.
British Ambassador to Ireland Julian King said the lecturer’s work helped place equality at the heart of the UK legal system.
“He championed the public sector’s role in promoting equality and good community relations,” said Mr King.
“Seamus’s work on involving diverse communities in policy making, violence against women and in developing strategies to tackle hate crime has helped to ensure the most vulnerable in our society feel protected.”
NUI Maynooth president Professor John Hughes praised Mr Taylor’s work: “His professional track record is exemplary, with unrivalled experience, and he has quickly become a highly valued faculty colleague.
“Both he and the university have much to contribute to the development of equality and diversity strategies, and to the wider debate on interculturalism here in Ireland.”