Vulnerable most affected by economic choices, watchdog says

Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission makes claims in UN submission

 A horse-drawn carriage leading an anti-austerity march in Dublin. The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission has said that budgetary choices made by Government have led to greater deprivation and difficulty for the most vulnerable groups. File  photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

A horse-drawn carriage leading an anti-austerity march in Dublin. The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission has said that budgetary choices made by Government have led to greater deprivation and difficulty for the most vulnerable groups. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

 

Young people, single parents, homeless families, women and Travellers are among the groups who have been worst affected by the regressive choices made by Government, the State’s human rights watchdog has said.

In a submission to the United Nations, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission says that, despite fiscal constraints, budgetary choices made by Government have led to greater deprivation and difficulty for the most vulnerable groups.

The commission calls on the Government to adopt taxation policies from now on that will not “further endanger the enjoyment of human rights by those most at risk”.

This submission to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights comes as Ireland prepares to go before the committee next week.

Compliance

International Covenant on Economic

In its submission, the IHREC says some groups have been “worst affected” by austerity measures and “may have become even more susceptible to unemployment, lower incomes, or poorer living standards”.

“In particular, the significant growth in youth unemployment rate and the gender dimension in the form of the ‘levelling down’ of the employment gap between men and women are direct outcomes of the downturn.”

Industrial disputes

Dunnes Stores

The commission says the State is obliged to ensure everyone has the right to “just and favourable conditions of work”, including the right to “a decent living for themselves and their families” and calls on the State to examine the law around these contracts to ensure all workers “receive fair wages and can earn a decent living”.

The commission also notes people with disabilities are much more likely to be unemployed and calls for a Government employment strategy for people with disabilities.

“Changes to eligibility for the one-parent family payment, has significantly affected lone parents, the majority of whom are women,” according to the submission.