Damning report set for ’heart of the Oireachtas’

Minister of State for Justice and Equality Aodhán Ríordán is to bring a damning United Nations’ report on Ireland’s human rights record to the "heart of the Oireachtas".

He admitted that, while he agreed with many of the recommendations, he could not pretend to agree with all of them.

“This conversation belongs in the heart of the Oireachtas,” he said at a press conference in Dublin yesterday organised by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL).

“We have to start talking on a deeper and more profound level on the type of country we want to live in so there isn’t people who look and sound just like me who are always at the microphone and always making decisions,” he said.

The ICCL welcomed the call by the UN’s top human rights experts for constitutional reform on abortion, as well as prompt, independent and thorough investigations into the abuses perpetrated on survivors of the Magdalene laundries and of the barbaric surgical practice of symphysiotomy.

The recommendations are made in the eight-page “concluding observations” made by the UN Human Rights Committee.

ICCL director Mark Kelly said the council wanted a full Oireachtas debate on the damning findings, as well as the creation of an effective national implementation mechanism to ensure that the UN’s clear recommendations were implemented fully.

The Human Rights Council hearing in Geneva last week was the fourth time Ireland was examined by the UN Human Rights Committee on its human rights record.

The last hearing took place in 2008.

The ICCL led a 30-member delegation of civil society groups to Geneva where Justice Frances Fitzgerald defended Ireland’s human rights record.

Educate Together welcomed the UN call on the Government to ensure there are diverse school types throughout Ireland.

Its chief executive, Paul Rowe, said a minimum of €5m for the programme in the current three-year budget cycle should be provided.

Amnesty International said Ireland could no longer get away with criminalising abortion and relying on the fact that some women and girls can travel abroad to access their lawful right to an abortion.

However, the Pro Life Campaign, one of the non-governmental organisations in Geneva, said the hearing on abortion was a complete charade.

Pro Life campaign’s deputy chairperson, Cora Sherlock, said the Government had mounted a very lacklustre defence of Ireland’s right to decide on these matters.


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