Minister urges wider interests on rights body

 

Proposals were put forward by the Minister for Justice, Mr O'Donoghue, yesterday to broaden representation on the new Human Rights Commission, set up under the Belfast Agreement.

The move follows criticism of the Government's decision to appoint to the commission only one of eight persons recommended by an independent committee set up by the Government. The criticism came from members of the selection committee and non-governmental agencies working in human rights in the State.

Those appointed included the former Labour party government minister, Mr Mervyn Taylor, and Ms Olive Braiden, a former director of the Rape Crisis Centre. Among those on the list not appointed were representatives of the Traveller movement and a former co-chairman of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties.

Mr O'Donoghue said he had decided to submit proposals to the Government next week "for further widening of the range of interests to be represented" on the commission.

Last night the Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, Mr Donncha O'Connell, said the Minister was clearly responding to the anger felt by NGOs at the Government's refusal to accept the recommendations of the body it had appointed.

"We will await the proposals which the Minister makes to Government before commenting", but only genuinely restorative measures would satisfy the NGO sector, he said.