The European Committee of Social Rights recently published their findings and conclusions for 2023 on Articles of the European Social Charter relating to children, family and migrants

The 2023 Report of the European Committee of Social Rights concerning children, family and migrants made specific findings for Ireland, as a state that has accepted the Collective Complaints Procedure. There are five different Irish cases of assessments of follow-up in the report whereby the committee found several situations that had not been brought into conformity with the European Charter of Human Rights (the ‘Charter’) with the exception of conformity with the Gender Pay Gap.


The first situation concerned a 4th assessment of follow up regarding European Confederation of Police v Ireland, Complaint No.83/2012. This situation covers Irish legislation which places an outright prohibition on the right to strike of An Garda Síochána. Other violations were considered to be brought in conformity in previous findings, and as such the follow-up for those were terminated. The government did not bring any new information on the prohibition on their right to strike, and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission noted the lack of conformity – in response, the government pointed to the unique position of Gardaí which could negatively affect policing, security of the state or maintenance of public authority. However, the committee held that as the ban remains in place, there is violation of article 6.4 of the Charter.


Next, a 4th assessment of follow up arose concerning European Roma Rights Centre v Ireland, Complaint No.100/2013. This assessment related to accommodation and eviction of Travellers. The government provided a significant amount of information on the areas of concern, and responded to the information provided by the IHREC. However, the committee found multiple violations of article 16 of the Charter, on the grounds of insufficient accommodation provided to Travellers, Traveller sites inadequate conditions, inadequate safeguards from eviction threats against Travellers under the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994 and the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1992, and the carrying out of evictions without the necessary safeguards. Although the government cited new policy framework under the ‘Housing for All’ initiative, enhanced funding, and new schemes and surveys, the committee found that the situation was not brought into conformity. The committee emphasised that the report does not show tangible improvements. It also noted the lack of implementation of important recommendations under the Traveller Accommodation Expert Review, among other concerns. In respect of eviction concerns, the Committee held that lack of change in legislation means that it is still not in conformity with article 16. Thus, there was no conformity with article 16 for all violations considered by the Committee.


A 4th assessment of follow up was also completed in respect of International Federation for Human Rights v Ireland, Complaint No.110/2014. This situation concerns the housing conditions of local authority tenants. Information presented by the government was countered by information from the IHREC, Community Action Network and Centre for Housing Law Rights and Policy. The committee found that article 16 was violated as there was a large amount of tenants of local authorities that reside in conditions that are poor, amounting to inadequacy. They highlighted the absence of recent statistics to enable planning and reviewing impact, lengthy regeneration work of the authorities and the absence of a national timetable planning regeneration work. Thus, the situation was not brought into conformity with article 16 of the Charter.


Additionally, a 3rd assessment of follow up occurred for the European Organisation of Military Associations (EUROMIL) v Ireland, Complaint No. 112/2014, concerning military representative associations being prohibited from joining national workers organisations. The Irish government pointed to the allowance of temporary consent to join the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. EUROMIL submitted that the grant for temporary consent was ‘disconcerting’, and IHREC submitted information about the legislation failing to conform, to which the Irish government responded by claiming that Ireland is not unique in this limitation. However, the Committee found a violation of article 5 of the Charter as there has been no removal of the complete prohibition.


The final situation in the report is the 1st assessment of follow up in respect of University Women of Europe v Ireland, Complaint No.132/2016. This assessment concerns the conformity of Ireland with gender pay, equal opportunities and balanced representation. Previous violations of article 4(3) and 20.c of the Charter were now found to be in conformity, as the committee considered that while efforts to improve transparency in pay are still underway, Ireland’s Gender Pay Gap Information Act 2021 is in force and is strengthening pay transparency. Previous violations of article 20.c of the Charter with concerns of lack of indicators for showing progress in promotion of equal opportunities were no longer at issue and were held to be in conformity by the committee. The committee pointed to the efforts to collect data that is standardised and reliable, which will be very useful for progressing efforts to address the gender pay gap, and how this data can be used to measure progress. Other previous violations of article 20.d of the Charter in respect of a balanced representation of women who work in private companies and hold decision making roles was also found by the committee to be in conformity. While they noted the measures did not show a clear trend towards improvement, they found that positive trends from the European Institute for Gender Equality show measureable progress, and as such, there is conformity. Overall, the committee held that the situation conforms under articles 4(3), 20.c and 20.d of the Charter.


The Findings 2023 report shows that while Ireland has made progress in conforming with efforts to address the gender pay gap, Charter violations are still occurring in the areas of housing entitlements of Travellers, the rights of Gardaí to strike, the entitlement of military representative associations to join national workers organisations and the housing conditions of local authority tenants.


You can read the Findings 2023 report by clicking here.



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