Gaining recognition of status easier for trafficking victims under proposals

Proposals for consideration include rights of adopted, healthy society and Moore Street site

Victims of human trafficking would find it easier to have their status recognised in Ireland under proposals being brought to Cabinet on Tuesday by Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton.

An Garda Síochána is currently the sole competent authority for the formal recognition of people as victims of human trafficking. The force makes recommendations as to who can be included on the National Referral Mechanism, used to support victims of human trafficking and modern slavery.

Ms Naughton is proposing that other State bodies and non-government organisations (NGOs) would have a role in identifying victims and referring them to the mechanism.

She has asked that five other bodies be recognised as competent authorities for this purpose – the Department of Justice’s immigration services; the Department of Social Protection; the Health Service Executive; Tusla, the Child and Family Agency; and the Department of Children.

Birth certificates

Ms Naughton has taken over the human rights responsibilities in the Department of Justice during Minister for Justice Helen McEntee’s maternity leave.

Research suggests that victims who have had a negative experience of state organisations in their native country are wary of dealing with the Garda in Ireland.

The Cabinet is also expected to approve a move to draft legislation to give adopted people the right to access their original birth certificates including the name of their birth mother. Information and tracing legislation would also give adopted people documentation from their early lives, for the first time.

Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman is to bring a related memo on the issue of illegal birth registrations at the St Patrick’s Guild adoption society. Proposals have been provided by an interdepartmental group set up to examine that issue, which will now go out for consultation with the people affected.

Community wellbeing

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly is to present an action plan to Cabinet aimed at encouraging a healthier society.

The five-year Healthy Ireland initiative includes 56 goals such as local authorities having to include anti-obesity measures in their long-term development plans. It will also try to focus on improving health and wellbeing in the most disadvantaged communities.

There is also a healthy schools and pupils initiative with a new primary school healthy-eating education programme and a healthy campus advisory group for third-level students. A report on spending in the Department of Health in the first quarter is due to be debated.

The Department of Agriculture will bring an update on export health certification, which is being brought in for plant and animal products going to the UK following Brexit.

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien will bring the report of the Moore Street Advisory Group, which examined how to regenerate the area in a way that reflects its associations with the 1916 Rising.