Archive

Archive for March, 2010

Further updates on the BOR process: the NIAC report

March 30, 2010 1 comment

Following on from Cian’s earlier blog on the response of the DUP to the NIO’s Consultation Paper on a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland, it is worth noting that 24 March saw the Westminster Northern Ireland Affairs Committee release ‘A Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland: An Interim Statement‘.

Given the political make-up of that Committee, many of those in favour of a NIBOR regarded the NIAC’s decision to carry out such an inquiry as an effort on the part of political actors unhappy with the NIHRC’s advice to have ‘another bite at the cherry’. Arguably, the limited and poor quality consultation document produced by the NIO in response to the NIHRC’s advice rendered this unnecessary. (For a discussion of some of the criticisms made of the NIO document, see here)

Whatever its reasons, the Committee itself does not make an explicit recommendation either in favour or against a NIBOR. Rather it states: Read more…

The End of the Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland?

March 30, 2010 2 comments

Tomorrow is the closing date for submissions to the Northern Ireland Office in response to their consultation on the Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland. We have previously discussed this matter at much length (see Colin Harvey here and myself here). However, the Irish Times is today reporting that the Democratic Unionist Party has called for the plans to be abandoned. Against the backdrop of the upcoming British General election, this is another blow to those who believe that a Bill of Rights is necessary to fully embed the constitutional change wrought by the Good Friday Agreement. Further information on the campaign for a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland can be found at http://www.borini.info/.

IHRC Report on John Paul Centre, Galway

March 30, 2010 1 comment

The Irish Human Rights Commission today released a lengthy report on an enquiry into conditions, services and care provided in the John Paul Centre in Galway. This is a residential centre for adults with severe to profound learning disabilities and the enquiry was conducted following a representation to the IHRC from concerned parents of residents. The report is very detailed and we hope in the following days to bring you some specialist commentary on it here at HRinI. Readers might also be interested in two previous posts on HRinI on standards of care in residential centres for people with disability: this post from Mary Keogh & Charles O’Mahony and this separate post from Charles.

In the course of the enquiry the IHRC found that there had been breaches of the residents’ human rights in respect of the failure to provide adequate services and care to the residents of the centre. In many ways, these failures are bound up with the lack of accountability mechanisms and the fact that such centres are unregulated and uninspected in spite of being state-funded. However, it seems clear from the report’s recommendations of which there are many) that the problems are envisaged by the IHRC as being more multi-disciplinary and multi-layered than ‘simple’ lack of inspection/regulation. From recommending the immediate ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to the formation of tailored service agreements taking the needs of residents into account, the recommendations are wide-ranging. They are also important inasmuch as they highlight the various different stakeholders—the Departments of Health, Justice and Education, the HSE, the residents, the Brothers of Charity (who run the centre), the parents—whose input is required to provide a service that is truly fit for purpose and respectful of the rights and liberties of the residents.

The report is certainly welcome and there can be little doubt that its findings are replicated in similar centres throughout the country. The sooner the state moves on ensuring effective, properly resourced, respectful, appropriate, adequate and accountable levels of health and support service provision to people with disabilities in Ireland the better.

CCHJR 4th Annual Criminal Law Conference

March 29, 2010 Leave a comment

From the Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights (CCJHR) blog comes news of the 4th Annual Criminal Law Conference which will focus on victims in the criminal justice system.

Further information on the conference, and registration details, can be found here.

Kenny on Carson & Ors. v The United Kingdom

March 29, 2010 1 comment

We are delighted to welcome this guest contribution from Jo Kenny, Legal Officer at the Public Interest Law Alliance (PILA), a project of the Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC). You can learn more about Jo on our guest contributors page.

On 16th March 2010 the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights delivered its judgment in Carson & Ors. –v- the United Kingdom (Application No.42184/05). This is the end of Mrs Carson’s long road in challenging UK state pension policy.

Mrs Carson emigrated to South Africa and subsequently retired there. She had previously worked in the UK and made full contributions to the UK state pension. Indeed she continued to make such contributions on leaving. However when her state pension came into payment, it was not index-linked – it was frozen and would not be uprated to reflect the effect of inflation. The UK does not index-link state pensions paid in South Africa. The question for the Grand Chamber was whether this policy unlawfully discriminated against Mrs Carson on the basis of her place of residence, in breach of Article 14 in conjunction with Article 1 Protocol 1. Read more…

Modernising Jury Selection: Law Reform Commission’s Consultation Paper on Jury Selection

March 29, 2010 2 comments

 

The Director of Public Prosecutions will launch the Law Reform Commission’s Consultation Paper on Jury Service this evening.   The Consultation Paper will be available here this afternoon.  The Commission is examining jury service as part of its Third Programme of Law Reform 2008-2014.  It received a large number of submissions as part of its consultation on its work programme in 2007 calling for a review and modernisation of the law regulating juries.   This is the first substantive review of jury service in Ireland since the introduction of the Juries Act 1976 (which was based largely on recommendations contained in Reports of the Committee on Court Practice and Procedure, 1965)

Read more…

Irish Blog Awards 2010

March 29, 2010 Leave a comment

The Irish Blog Awards took place last Saturday in Galway. HRinI was a finalist for the best news/current affairs blog sponsored by Dediserve. The prize in that category rightly went to Maman Poulet, run by the irrepressible Suzy Byrne. We were ably represented by Liam Thornton on the night.

The IBAs were started by Damien Mulley fadó fadó (in internet time at least) and have grown from a relatively small gathering to a large and very fun annual event with numerous side events and the inevitable morning-after brunches. It is, as an event, a real example of how online activity can translate into meaningful off-line interactions and events. It is also an enormous undertaking organisationally for which Damien and the whole team deserve a great deal of gratitude. I was pleased this year to be a judge in the IBAs and I can attest to the quality of the many blogs I judged along the way, finding myself almost never in a position of awarding a poor mark.

Blogging is an important activity—it is a way for people to express their own views, a way to share emotions, a way to shed light on events or perspectives that perhaps do not make waves in the main stream media, a way to present news and current affairs with a different audience or perspective in mind. Academic group blogging is really beginning to take off in Ireland, with the charge perhaps being led by Irish Economy and now very ably joined by Political Reform. As a group academic blog, HRinI was conceived of as a way to do four things: (1) to aggregate information about Irish scholarship and events in human rights; (2) to provide quick-reaction commentary on what is happening in Ireland from a human rights perspective; (3) to create a space where the academy, practitioners, NGOs and all other interested parties can interact; and (4) to bring scholarship and legal commentary out of the university and democratise it to the extent that a dozen or so (mainly early career) academics can.

We certainly hope to continue to fulfil these functions over the next year. As always, we are delighted to hear suggestions and feedback from readers either in the comments here, on our facebook page, on twitter, or by contacting us (all our details are here).