Posts Tagged ‘International Law/International Human Rights’

Human Rights Lexicon: ‘Foreign Law’ in Constitutional Adjudication

March 17, 2010 5 comments

In this fifth contribution to today’s Human Rights Lexicon, Dr Fiona de Londras—a regular contributor here at HRinI—considers the role that comparative and international human rights law can play in domestic rights protections.

Human Rights Lexicon: Using ‘Foreign Law’ to develop Constitutional Rights

Using international and comparative law in human rights litigation and scholarship often results in a hostile or at the least sceptical response. After all, the typical respondent to such a suggestion will say, we have a constitution with a bill of rights and an independent judiciary; what do we need to use other law for? Thankfully in Ireland this response is not that prevalent; it is certainly less prevalent here than in other jurisdictions. However, there remains some scepticism about the extent to which comparative and international law can be useful and, indeed, some concerns that using these sources of law in our domestic rights protection can undermine our sovereignty. In this contribution to the human rights lexicon I want to take on these claims by considering the contribution that international and comparative law can play in developing constitutional understandings of rights and arguing that using these sources of law in constitutional development is appropriate and helpful. Read more…

Welfare Cuts in the Next Budget – ESR Violations on the Horizon?

November 5, 2009 5 comments

UNThe Irish Times reports that the Taoiseach and the Minister for Social and Family Affairs have indicated there will be significant reductions in social welfare spending in the forthcoming Budget. The comments were made at a meeting on 27 October between the Taoiseach, the Minister and the Community and Voluntary Pillar under the social partnership process. Seamus Boland of Irish Rural Link, who attended the meeting, said the talks centred generally on the economic situation facing the country. He said the Taoiseach had again indicated that cuts of up to €4 billion had to be implemented in the Budget in December. Mr Boland said Ms Hanafin and the Taoiseach had pointed out that as part of this process there would have to be significant reductions in social welfare spending. He said that they told the meeting that the country could not afford the current level of expenditure but did not provide details of where the cuts might fall in the Budget. Mr Boland said the Community and Voluntary Pillar had argued that cuts in social welfare spending would hurt those who were the most vulnerable and weakest in society.

Proposed whole-scale cuts in social welfare fly in the face of the results of rescent research sponsored by TASC which reportedly found high levels of public support for the funding of childcare, education and old age through general taxation. According to the Irish Times, the survey (which was carred out at 60 locations around the State, on a sample of 1,000 people of 16 years or more) found that 88 per cent believe old age provision should be State-funded; 87 per cent believe education should be State-funded; 78 per cent believe health should be State-funded and 58 per cent believe childcare should be State-funded.

The broad ‘cuts’ approach proposed by government also directly contradicts the recommendations of several of the presenters at the recent ‘Towards a Progressive Economics’ Conference (held on 10 October) which recommended economic expansion, fiscal stimulus measures and the reform of welfare, rather than simply a ‘slash and burn approach’ to benefits. While the Government argues that such cuts are necessary, one can only hope (however wistfully) that, in formulating the budget, it will bear in mind the obligations it accepted by ratifying the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights Read more…