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Posts Tagged ‘cuts’

Conway on Budget 2010: The Irish Criminal Justice System

December 10, 2009 2 comments

This post is contributed by our regular contributor Dr. Vicky Conway. You can read about Vicky on our Contributors page.

The most apparent implication of Budget 2010 for the criminal justice system has been the threat of strike action by members of the Garda Representative Association (covering circa 12,000 members of the force), on the basis of the public sector pay cuts. The government, on the advice of the AG has warned of the criminal implications of such action, a statement reinforced by the Garda Commissioner. Prof Dermot Walsh has argued however, that there is in fact no legal bar on strike action, only on joining a trade union. The GRA does not appear, at the time of writing, to have made a statement on the Budget, but given AGSI’s response, that it is ‘an attack on its members’, we may well see a ballot of GRA members on strike action in the coming weeks. Let’s not forget other workers, such as prison officers, who may also choose to strike. In the past prison strikes have required Gardaí to serve in prisons, which clearly is problematic if they too are striking.

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Human Rights Cuts Damage Our Standing Abroad

November 25, 2009 7 comments

The Irish Times has this report of a speech by Colm Ó Cinnéide at the Equality and Rights Alliance ‘Fairer Ireland’ conference, which took place yesterday. We have blogged about the issue herehere and here and highlighted important new research from the ERA here.

Ó Cinnéide spoke first about the international perception of this government’s reluctance to fund the national human rights watchdogs.

Ireland’s equality and human rights institutions had previously been acclaimed throughout the EU as best practice models. “At conference after conference across Europe, it was emphasised to me and to others about – from an external perspective – how strong the institutional architecture was in Ireland and how impressive the representatives of both the Equality Authority and the Human Rights Commission were throughout the 2000s,” he said…There has been, frankly, the perception . . . of a fall from grace from European best practice models to a set of circumstances that gives rise to questions…”

Ó Cinnéide also emphasised the consequences of Ireland’s actions for the promotion of human rights abroad:

There are concerns when a country in good international standing like Ireland carries out sweeping budget cuts to its equality and human rights institutions because there are issues of precedence… When countries with perceived good records do something, then it means that countries who are perceived to have not such good records have a precedent. He said Pakistan had recently cited Ireland’s blasphemy law as an example of best practice, at a UN gathering…Ireland has a history of leadership in international institutions in the UN and the Council of Europe on equality and human rights matters,” he said. “But then you have facts on the ground and you have government ministers in other countries saying ‘Well, is there a tension here between the rhetoric and the delivery?’”

 

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.