Posts Tagged ‘budget’

Enright on Budget 2010: Women, Poverty & Violence

December 10, 2009 2 comments

This post is HRinI’s final contribution to the 16 days campaign. It relies heavily on the National Women’s Council of Ireland Pre-Budget Submission 2010. Whether or not this budget represents a last ‘big push’ towards economic recovery,  for many Irish women it is not a push from manageable to bearable. It is a push from just about bearable to unsupportable.

Women had tended to enter this recession on a weak footing, because many women work ‘flexible’, informal and part-time jobs which enable them to find time for caring responsibilities within the family; these, of course, are still a significant factor in women’s career decisions. Women in such jobs have tended to lose ‘hours’ as a result of the economic downturn. (Caring responsibilities have also exerted pressure from another direction as some employers have cut back on supports for family women in an effort to save money).

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Pre-Budget Submissions Roundup

November 29, 2009 5 comments
This is a collection of pre-budget submissions published so far and relevant to the protection of human rights in Ireland. Please feel free to let us know of others in the comments.

Disability and Carers

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The Equality and Rights Alliance and the Promise of a Counter-Discourse

November 25, 2009 6 comments

This post builds on a brief exchange with Padraig at the foot of this post, which reported on a speech by Colm Ó Cinnéide at the Equality and Rights Alliance ‘Fairer Ireland’ conference, which took place yesterday. An important report was launched at yesterday’s conference. Entitled Downgrading Equality and Human Rights: Assessing the Impact it focuses on two key issues. First, it outlines the impact of reductions in funding on the work of the IHRC and the Equality Authority. Second, and perhaps more importantly, it outlines fundamental structural deficiencies in the relationships between the human rights watchdogs and government departments which fatally undermine their independence.

The principal conclusions of the report are that:

• The independence of both bodies has been breached. The main points were identified as the behind-closed-doors system of selection and appointment, accountability to government ministers and departments rather than Parliament, civil service staffing and lack of financial insulation of budget from the caprice of government ministers.
• The budget cuts appear to have had a significant impact on the work of the Irish Human Rights Commission and an unquantifiable impact on the work of the Equality Authority. Indicators are presented that enable these issues to be tracked in a number of ways at several levels.
• The design of the Irish Human Rights Commission and the Equality Authority, taken together, does not reach a modern interpretation of the full application of the Paris principles nor the ECRI recommendations, nor in the case of Equality Authority, the 2000 Race Directive.

The report does highlight some deficiencies in the IHRC and EA’s  operations prior to the recent budget cuts. Nevertheless, it is evident that neither organisation can improve – indeed the report doubts whether the IHRC can continue to function – on their current shoe-string budgets.

Joanna McMinn’s foreword to the report  outlines the task which the ERA has now set itself:

These are grim times for equality and human rights in Ireland. In October last year budgetary cuts were introduced that have reduced The Equality Authority and the Irish Human Rights Commission to sha-dows of what they were, and should be, in this recessionary period of growing economic and social inequalities.

The upheaval of autumn 2008 also marked a critical fracture in the development of Irish social policy. Given the scale of the cuts made, it is now widely acknowledged that motives really lie in political choices to reconfigure institutions of the state to reduce the values of equality, rights and solidarity rather than solely economic imperatives and value for money.

Equality & Rights Alliance (ERA) formed in order to resist this deliberate and politically motivated targeting of the Irish equality and human rights institutions. The Alliance has subsequently developed its role, positioning itself as an independent and critical voice for the reinstatement and strengthening of the equality and human rights infrastructure in Ireland. We believe that equality and human rights must be central to Ireland’s recovery and rebuilding, not something that can be discarded when it is an irritant or inconvenient.

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Downgrading Equality and Human Rights: Assessing the Impact

November 24, 2009 1 comment

The Equality and Rights Alliance conference, A Fairer Ireland: Equality and Rights at the Heart of Recovery took place today in Dublin. At the conference, the ERA launched its report Downgrading Equality and Human Rights. This is a really thorough and informative report. The executive summary is available here at Irish Left Review.


Assessing the Impact of Budget Cuts

November 17, 2009 1 comment

The Irish Times reports on a new publication by the Equality and Rights Alliance. Entitled Downgrading Equality and Human Rights: Assessing the Impact this report says that budget cuts imposed in 2008 have had a “significant” impact on the work of the Human Rights Commission and an “unquantifiable” impact on the work of the Equality Authority. The Irish Times quotes the ERA chairman Joanna McMinn as saying that the research reported confirms that:

“motives to cut the budgets of these two bodies last autumn really lie in political choices to reconfigure institutions of the State to reduce the values of equality, rights and solidarity”.

The report will be published in full next week.

Campaigning on Budget 2010

November 11, 2009 3 comments

A number of campaigns have been launched against cuts to essential services for the poor in the next budget. A National Day of Action to protest pay and spending cuts took place on November 6.

Details of Barnardo’s Child Poverty Campaign, which opposes cuts to social welfare, education and health in Budget 2010 are here.

A number of leading charities, civil society organisations and trade unions are campaigning under the banner ‘The Poor Can’t Pay’ against prospective cuts to the minimum wage, social welfare and the Christmas payment here and here. Some informative briefing documents are available at the Poor Can’t Pay site here , at the website of the Community Workers’ Co-operative Site here and at the Irish National Organisation for the Unemployed site here.

This looks to be a ‘make or break’ budget for Ireland’s poor. Aoife has blogged about the ESR ramifications of the Budget here. Liam will be live-blogging the fallout of Budget 2010 and hosting a Blog Carnival here at HRinI. Contributions to the blog carnival are invited here.