Equality campaign loses an inspirational leader

AS a former board member of the Equality Authority I wish to express my deep dismay at the resignation of Niall Crowley as its CEO.

His departure from the organisation is a blow to the progress of equality in Ireland and is a huge loss to the public service. Recent political decisions with regard to the Equality Authority will impact negatively on the equality agenda in Ireland.

Under cover of budget constraints, Dermot Ahern, Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, as advised by his secretary-general, has cost the State a fine public servant when his actions forced Mr Crowley to refuse to continue to lead an organisation that the State has decided to nobble with budget cuts of more than 40%.

The Equality Authority, since its establishment in 1999, has been to the forefront of progressing the equality agenda in Ireland and Mr Crowley led out on that work both in Ireland and in his highly respected work in the EU’s international equality and human rights sector. The reduction of the authority’s budget by 45%, coupled with the already discredited decentralisation to Roscrea, will make the organisation ineffectual.

As someone who has given public service (with no payments or perks) on the board of the authority and who remains pro-equality, I call on the minister to reverse this decision and invest in an Ireland which values diversity and difference and works to end discrimination and inequality.

Mr Crowley’s resignation, which must have been devastating for him and his family, is a wake-up call, an act of bravery and courage, and I salute him and admire him for it.

His track record will remain an inspiration to all of us in these very discouraging times.

Shame on our political leaders.

Gráinne Healy

41 The Willows

Glasnevin

Dublin 11

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