The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

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The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC)

Set up in October 1999 as an independent body, The Equality Authority merged with the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission in November 2014. This merger resulted in the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC).

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) was set up on 1 November 2014 as an independent public body. Our purpose is to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding across Irish society. Our goal is an inclusive Ireland where human rights and equality are fully enjoyed by everyone, everywhere. Under our founding legislation, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Act 2014, we must carry out our functions in a way that supports the development of a society in which:

  • There is respect for, and protection of, everyone’s human rights.
  • There is respect for the dignity and worth of each person.
  • A person’s ability to achieve their potential is not limited by prejudice, discrimination, or neglect.
  • Everyone has a fair and equal opportunity to take part in the economic, political, social or cultural life of the State.
  • People respect each other, respect equality and human rights, and understand the value of diversity within society.

The IHREC protects human rights and equality generally, and as set out in the Constitution, national human rights and equality legislation, the European Convention on Human Rights, European Union law, and the many international treaties and conventions that Ireland has committed to respect, protect and fulfil.

The IHREC is Ireland’s national human rights institution and is recognised as such by the United Nations. We are also Ireland’s national equality body. In these contexts our purpose is to make sure that international and European human rights law and European Union anti-discrimination and equality law are put into effect in Ireland.

The Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement requires that there be strong, independent human rights and equality bodies on both the north and south of the island of Ireland. We work with the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland to achieve a strong culture of rights across both jurisdictions.