Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry

Ireland

The following law excerpts appear in the publication "Legislating for Equality, A Multinational Collection of Non-Discrimination Norms. Vol. I: Europe":


1.   CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS


 


Hereinafter are the relevant provisions in the Constitution of Ireland, enacted on 1 July 1937, as amended up to 24 June 2004.[1]


 


Article 8


"(1) The Irish language as the national language is the first official language.[2]


(2) The English language is recognised as a second official language.


(3) Provision may, however, be made by law for the exclusive use of either of the said languages for any one or more official purposes, either throughout the State or in any part thereof."


 


Article 9[3]


1.     "(1) On the coming into operation of this Constitution any person who was a citizen of Saorstát Éireann immediately before the coming into operation of this Constitution shall become and be a citizen of Ireland.


(2) The future acquisition and loss of Irish nationality and citizenship shall be determined in accordance with law.


(3) No person may be excluded from Irish nationality and citizenship by reason of the sex of such person."


2.    (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Constitution, a person born in the island of Ireland, which includes its islands and seas, who does not have, at the time of the birth of that person, at least one parent who is an Irish citizen or entitled to be an Irish citizen is not entitled to Irish citizenship or nationality, unless provided for by law.


(2) This section shall not apply to persons born before the date of the enactment of this section.


3.    Fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State are fundamental
political duties of all citizens."


 


Article 29 - International Relations


"(1) Ireland affirms its devotion to the ideal of peace and friendly co-operation amongst nations founded on international justice and morality."


(2) (…) 


(3) Ireland accepts the generally recognised principles of international law as its rules of conduct in its relations with other states. 


(4) (1) –(9)


(10) No provision of this Constitution invalidates laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the State which are necessitated by the obligations of membership of the European Union or of the Communities, or prevents laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the European Union or by the Communities or by institutions thereof, or by bodies competent under the Treaties establishing the Communities, from having the force of law in the State.(11)            (…)"


(5) –(9) (…)


 


Article 40 (1)- Personal Rights


"(1) All citizens shall, as human persons, be held equal before the law."


(2) –(6) (…)"


 


Article 40 (6)


"(1) The State guarantees liberty for the exercise of the following rights, subject to public order and morality:


i.     The right of the citizens to express freely their convictions and opinions.


The education of public opinion being, however, a matter of such grave import to the common good, the State shall endeavour to ensure that organs of public opinion, such as the radio, the press, the cinema, while preserving their rightful liberty of expression, including criticism of Government policy, shall not be used to undermine public order or morality or the authority of the State.


The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law.


ii.     The right of the citizens to assemble peaceably and without arms.


Provision may be made by law to prevent or control meetings which are determined in accordance with law to be calculated to cause a breach of the peace or to be a danger or nuisance to the general public and to prevent or control meetings in the vicinity of either House of the Oireachtas.


iii.     The right of the citizens to form associations and unions.


Laws, however, may be enacted for the regulation and control in the public interest of the exercise of the foregoing right.


(2) Laws regulating the manner in which the right of forming associations and unions and the right of free assembly may be exercised shall contain no political, religious or class discrimination. "


 


Article 44- Religion


"1.       The State acknowledges that the homage of public worship is due to Almighty God. It shall hold His Name in reverence, and shall respect and honour religion.


2.      1° Freedom of conscience and the free profession and practice of religion are, subject to public order and morality, guaranteed to every citizen.


2° The State guarantees not to endow any religion.


3° The State shall not impose any disabilities or make any discrimination on the ground of religious profession, belief or status.


4° Legislation providing State aid for schools shall not discriminate between schools under the management of different religious denominations, nor be such as to affect prejudicially the right of any child to attend a school receiving public money without attending religious instruction at that school.


5° Every religious denomination shall have the right to manage its own affairs, own, acquire and administer property, movable and immovable, and maintain institutions for religious or charitable purposes. (…) "


 


2.    HUMAN RIGHTS RELATED LEGISLATION


 


GENOCIDE ACT OF 18 DECEMBER 1973[4]


"An Act to give effect to the Convention of the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and to provide for other matters connected therewith. 


"2. Genocide


(1) A person commits an offence of genocide if he commits any act falling within the definition of "genocide" in Article II of the Genocide Convention.


(2) A person guilty of an offence of genocide shall on conviction on indictment—


(a) in case the offence consists of the killing of any person, be sentenced to imprisonment for life, and


(b) in any other case, be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.


(3) Proceedings for an offence of genocide shall not be instituted except by or with the consent of the Attorney General.


(4) A person charged with an offence of genocide or any attempt, conspiracy or incitement to commit genocide shall be tried by the Central Criminal Court."



 


PROHIBITION OF INCITEMENT TO HATRED ACT OF 1989[5]


Article 2 - Actions likely to stir up hatred


"(1) It shall be an offence for a person—


(a) to publish or distribute written material, (b) to use words, behave or display written material—


(i) in any place other than inside a private residence, or


(ii) inside a private residence so that the words, behaviour or material are heard or seen by persons outside the residence, or


(c) to distribute, show or play a recording of visual images or sounds,if the written material, words, behaviour, visual images or sounds, as the case may be, are threatening, abusive or insulting and are intended or, having regard to all the circumstances, are likely to stir up hatred.


(2) (a) In proceedings for an offence under subsection (1), if the accused person is not shown to have intended to stir up hatred, it shall be a defence for him to prove that he was not aware of the content of the material or recording concerned and did not suspect, and had no reason to suspect, that the material or recording was threatening, abusive or insulting.


(b) In proceedings for an offence under subsection (1) (b), it shall be a defence for the accused person—


(i) to prove that he was inside a private residence at the relevant time and had no reason to believe that the words, behaviour or material concerned would be beard or seen by a person outside the residence, or


(ii) if he is not shown to have intended to stir up hatred, to prove that he did not intend the words, behaviour or material concerned to be, and was not aware that they might be, threatening, abusive or insulting.


(3) (…)"


 


Article 3-Broadcasts likely to stir up hatred


"(1) If an item involving threatening, abusive or insulting visual images or sounds is broadcast, each of the persons mentioned in subsection (2) is guilty of an offence if he intends thereby to stir up hatred or, having regard to all the circumstances, hatred is likely to be stirred up thereby.


(2) The persons referred to in subsection (1) are:


(a) the person providing the broadcasting service concerned,


(b) any person by whom the item concerned is produced or directed, and


(c) any person whose words or behaviour in the item concerned are threatening, abusive or insulting.


(…)"


 


Article 4 - Preparation and possession of material likely to stir up hatred 


"(1) It shall be an offence for a person—


(a) to prepare or be in possession of any written material with a view to its being distributed, displayed, broadcast or otherwise published, in the State or elsewhere, whether by himself or another, or


(b) to make or be in possession of a recording of sounds or visual images with a view to its being distributed, shown, played, broadcast or otherwise published, in the State or else-where, whether by himself or another, if the material or recording is threatening, abusive or insulting and is intended or, having regard to all the circumstances, including such distribution, display, broadcasting, showing, playing or other publication thereof as the person has, or it may reasonably be inferred that he has, in view, is likely to stir up hatred.


(2) –(3) (…)"


 


Article 6 - Penalties


"A person guilty of an offence under sect ion 2, 3 or 4 shall be liable—


(a) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding £1,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both, or


(b) on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding £10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or to both."


 


4.  NON-DISCRIMINATION


 


EMPLOYMENT EQUALITY ACTS 1998 – 2008, AS AMENDED UP TO 2008[6]


 


Article 6-Discrimination for the purposes of this act


"1) For the purposes of this Act, discrimination shall be taken to occur where, on any of the grounds in subsection (2) (in this Act referred to as “the discriminatory grounds”), one person is treated less favourably than another is, has been or would be treated.


2) As between any 2 persons, the discriminatory grounds (and the descriptions of those grounds for the purposes of this Act) are—


(a) that one is a woman and the other is a man (in this Act referred to as “the gender ground”),


(b) that they are of different marital status (in this Act referred to as “the marital status ground”),


(c) that one has family status and the other does not (in this Act referred to as “the family status ground”),


(d) that they are of different sexual orientation (in this Act referred to as “the sexual orientation ground”),


e) that one has a different religious belief from the other, or that one has a religious belief and the other has not (in this Act referred to as “the religion ground”),


(f) that they are of different ages, but subject to subsection (3) (in this Act referred to as “the age ground”),


(g) that one is a person with a disability and the other either is not or is a person with a different disability (in this Act referred to as “the disability ground”),


(h) that they are of different race, colour, nationality or ethnic or national origins (in this Act referred to as “the ground of race”),


(i) that one is a member of the traveller community and the other is not (in this Act referred to as “the traveller community ground”).


3) Where –


(a) a person has attained the age of 65 years, or


(b) a person has not attained the age of 18 years,


then, subject to section 12(3), treating that person more favourably or less favourably than another (whatever that other person's age) shall not be regarded as discrimination on the age ground. (…)"


 


EQUAL STATUS ACTS 2000 – 2008, AS AMENDED UP TO 2008[7]


 


Article 3-Discrimination


"(1) For the purposes of this Act, discrimination shall be taken Discrimination to occur where -  


(a)   on any of the grounds specified in subsection (2) (in this Act referred to as ‘‘the discriminatory grounds’’) which exists at present or previously existed but no longer exists or may exist in the future, or which is imputed to the person
concerned, a person is treated less favourably than another person is, has been or would be treated,


(b)   (i) a person who is associated with another person is treated, by virtue of that association, less favourably than a person who is not so associated is, has been or would be treated, and


(ii) similar treatment of that other person on any of the discriminatory grounds would, by virtue of para­graph (a), constitute discrimination, or


(c)   (i) a person is in a category of persons who share a com­mon characteristic by reason of which discrimination may, by virtue of paragraph (a), occur in respect of those persons,


(ii) the person is obliged by the provider of a service (within the meaning of section 4(6)) to comply with a condition (whether in the nature of a requirement, practice or otherwise) but is unable to do so,


(iii) substantially more people outside the category than within it are able to comply with the condition, and


(iv) the obligation to comply with the condition cannot be justified as being reasonable in all the circumstances of the case.


(2) As between any two persons, the discriminatory grounds (and the descriptions of those grounds for the purposes of this Act) are:


(a)  that one is male and the other is female (the ‘‘gender ground’’),


(b)  that they are of different marital status (the ‘‘marital status ground’’),


(c)   that one has family status and the other does not or that one has a different family status from the other (the ‘‘family status ground’’),


(d)  that they are of different sexual orientation (the ‘‘sexual orientation ground’’),


(e)  that one has a different religious belief from the other, or that one has a religious belief and the other has not (the ‘‘religion ground’’),


(f)   subject to subsection (3), that they are of different ages (the ‘‘age ground’’),


(g)  that one is a person with a disability and the other either is not or is a person with a different disability (the ‘‘dis­ability ground’’),


(h) that they are of different race, colour, nationality or ethnic or national origins (the ‘‘ground of race’’),


(i) that one is a member of the Traveller community and the other is not (the ‘‘Traveller community ground’’), (…)"



 


Article 5 - Disposal of Goods and provision of services


"(1) A person shall not discriminate in disposing of goods to the public generally or a section of the public or in providing a ser­vice, whether the disposal or provision is for consideration or other­wise and whether the service provided can be availed of only by a section of the public. (…)"



 


Article 6 -Disposal of premises and provision of accommodation


"(1) A person shall not discriminate in—      


(a)  disposing of any estate or interest in premises,      


(b) terminating any tenancy or other interest in premises, or


(c)  providing accommodation  or any services or amenities related to accommodation or ceasing to provide accom­modation or any such services or amenities. (…)"


 


Article 7-Educational Establishments


" (2) An educational establishment shall not discriminate in relation to—


(a) the admission or the terms or conditions of admission of a person as a student to the establishment,


(b) the access of a student to any course, facility or benefit provided by the establishment,


(c) any other term or condition of participation in the establishment by a student, or


(d) the expulsion of a student from the establishment or any other sanction against the student. (…)"


 


5. EQUALITY BODIES / OMBUDSMAN


The Equality Tribunal was established by the Employment Equality Act 1998. The Tribunal mediates and/or investigates claims of unlawful discrimination in accordance with the provisions of the Act.  The Tribunal is responsible for mediating and investigating complaints of unlawful discrimination under the following legislation: the Employment Equality Acts 1998 – 2008; the Equal Status Acts 2000 -2008 and the Pensions Acts 1990-2008. The Equality Authority, an independent body set up under the Employment Equality Act, was established on 18 October 1999. The Equality Authority replaced the Employment Equality Agency, and has a greatly expanded role and functions. The Employment Equality Act, 1998 and the Equal Status Act, 2000 outlaw discrimination in employment, vocational training, advertising, collective agreements, the provision of goods and services and other opportunities to which the public generally have access on nine distinct grounds: gender; civil status; family status; age; disability; race; sexual orientation; religious belief; and membership of the Traveller community. [8]


 







[2] Irish became an official and working language of the European Union on 1 January 2007



[3] This Article was amended in 2004  






[7] Amended by the Equality Act of 2004: EQUALITY ACT 2004[7]: "An act to amend the Employment Equality Act 1998, Pensions Act 1990 and Equal Status Act 2000 for the purpose of making further and better provision in relation to equality of treatment in the workplace and elsewhere; to give effect to Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespec­tive of racial or ethnic origin, Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 estab­lishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation and directive 2002/73/ec of the European Par­liament and of the Council of 23 September 2002 amending Council Directive 76/207/EC on the implementation of the principle of equal treatment for men and women as regards access to employment, vocational training and promotion, and working con­ditions; and to revoke in part and enact in respect of proceedings under this act the European communities (burden of proof in gender discrimination cases) regulations 2001, which gave effect to council directive 97/80/ec of 15 December 19971 on the burden of proof in cases of discrimination based on sex. [18th July 2004]. "


 


 



[8]  Source: The Equality Tribunal http://www.equalitytribunal.ie/Home1.html , the Equality Authority website - http://www.equality.ie/index.asp?locID=3&docID=-1