FLAC and TCD Law School Seminar Series - Status Check: 20 Years of the Equal Status Acts, continuing on Tuesday, 8 June.

As the Equal Status Acts enter their third decade in effect in Ireland, FLAC, in association with the Law School, Trinity College Dublin, will hold a series of seminars in which academics, practitioners, policy-makers and activists will reflect on the experience, impact and limitations of this legislation to date, and explore its future role in Ireland’s equality framework. The lunchtime webinars will take place weekly throughout June. One general CPD point is available in respect of each seminar.

The Equal Status Acts prohibit discrimination, harassment and victimisation in the provision of goods, services, education and accommodation. They cover the nine grounds of gender, marital status, family status, age disability, sexual orientation, race, religion, and membership of the Traveller community. The enactment of this legislation represented the fulfilment of a commitment contained in the Good Friday Agreement and placed Ireland at the forefront of Europe in terms of anti-discrimination legislation.

However, in recent years, the number of complaints made under the Equal Status Acts has begun to decline. Questions continue to be raised about the legislation’s compatibility with Ireland’s obligations under international and regional human rights instruments. The dedicated equality bodies which were in place when the legislation was introduced, the Equality Tribunal and the Equality Authority, have been subsumed into the Workplace Relations Commission and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission respectively. At the same time, we have seen the introduction of a dedicated Public Sector Human Rights and Equality Duty.

The recent commitments by Government - to examine the introduction of a “disadvantaged socio-economic status” ground and to review Ireland’s equality legislation generally - afford another opportunity for Ireland to act as European leaders in promoting equality and combatting discrimination.

The seminar series will examine these issues and seek to contribute to the debate about the future of Ireland’s equality law. Roderic O’Gorman TD, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth will deliver the series’ Closing Address on Tuesday, 22 June 2021.

The first seminar, Examining the Effectiveness of the Equal Status Acts, with David Fennelly (TCD and Law Library), Prof. Judy Walsh (UCD) and Sinéad Lucey (FLAC Managing Solicitor) took place on 1 June 2021. That seminar can be viewed here.

Each of the three remaining seminars will take place from 1:00pm to 2:00pm weekly throughout June:

8 June 2021        Socio-Economic Status and Equality Law

                                Chair: Dr. Fiona Donson (UCC)

Paul McKeon (Inner City Activist, speaking from lived experience)

Tamás Kádár (Equinet)

Siobhán Phelan SC (Law Library)


16 June 2021     Ireland’s Evolving Equality Architecture

Sinéad Gibney (Chief Commissioner, IHREC)

Niall Crowley (former CEO of the Equality Authority)

Eilis Barry (FLAC Chief Executive)


22 June 2021     The Future of Equality Law

Prof. Sandra Fredman (Oxford)

Prof. Mark Bell (TCD)


Closing Address

Roderic O’Gorman TD, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.

Please note, sign-language interpretation will be provided. If you require any other accommodation, please let us know by emailing flacmedia@flac.ie.

Register here.



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