FLAC urges the Committee to recommend that the State:
Incorporate the principles of ICESCR into domestic law, including the Constitution.
Ratify the Optional Protocol to ICESCR and ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as a matter of priority.
Under each of the Articles FLAC also urges the Committee to recommend that the State:
Amend the tax regime to maximise available resources to protect and promote human rights and ensure the regime does not impact disproportionately on poorer sections of society.
Take measures to ensure that the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is fully independent, directly accountable to the Oireachtas, and adequately resourced to effectively promote the rights of people whose rights have been breached.
Ensure an independent statutory body is mandated and adequately resourced to provide advice and guidance to Government on how to reduce poverty and promote social inclusion.
Allocate adequate funding to local community development projects.
Ensure the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is mandated and adequately resourced to independently monitor incidences of racism and discrimination.
Renew the National Action Plan against Racism and take steps to effectively tackle racism.
Collate and make publicly available disaggregated data on the basis of ethnicity, including Irish Travellers, by official data collection systems.
Hold a referendum, as soon as practicable, to amend the Irish Constitution to include gender-inclusive language, in line with the recommendation of the Constitutional Convention.
Resource the full implementation of the National Women’s Strategy.
Provide adequate funding for the National Women’s Council and women’s projects at the local level.
Articles 4 and 5
Provide high-quality, appropriate and equal education, training and work opportunities to all people who are seeking employment, including those with disabilities, illness and lone parents.
Address the high rate of youth unemployment, in particular longer-term youth unemployed, through a suite of well-resourced measures which are human rights compliant.
Introduce the Comprehensive Employment Strategy for Persons with Disabilities along with a detailed implementation plan as a matter of urgency.
Ensure people working in sheltered workshops are entitled to the same rights as other workers, including the right to a fair wage and compliance with best practice on working hours.
Resource and implement a national employment strategy for Travellers and Roma in consultation with relevant civil society actors.
Grant asylum seekers the right to work after a defined period of time if a decision has not been made on their initial application.
Give further consideration to opting into the Recast Reception Directive (2013/33/EU).
Ensure that women who worked in Magdalen Laundries are paid for the work they undertook and have access to the appropriate pensions, healthcare and other services they require.
Put in place legislation to protect all victims of trafficking and forced labour.
Implement the recommendations of GRETA (Group of Experts in Action against Trafficking in Human Beings) in the forthcoming National Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings to ensure that the rights of victims of forced labour are upheld and that they can obtain adequate legal and financial redress.
Accommodate victims of trafficking in appropriate single gender facilities with access to a range of necessary support services.
Increase the rate of the minimum wage to ensure an adequate standard of living.
Give due consideration to the findings of the Living Wage Technical Group and take appropriate measures to work towards the introduction of a living wage.
Increase the amount paid to persons taking up internships under the JobBridge scheme and encourage employers to also make a contribution to the payment with a view to providing that all persons participating in the scheme are paid at least the minimum wage.
Ensure all JobBridge placements involve a substantial element of learning and experience that will be of future benefit to those taking part in the scheme.
Review the use of ‘zero-hour’ contracts and regulate the use of such contracts to ensure that fair conditions of work are observed by employers.
Ensure the objective to close the gender pay gap as set out in the National Women’s Strategy is fully supported and implemented.
Amend the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2011 as a matter of priority to remove all forms of discrimination against employees or potential employees of religious-run institutions in the fields of education and health.
Monitor and enforce the Employment Permits (Amendment) Bill 2014 to ensure that migrant workers do not suffer exploitation.
Abolish the provision in the Employment Permits Act s 2003-2014 that ties an employee to a specific employer.
Expand eligible employment categories to secure work to create regular channels of migration in line with the demand of essential skills in the labour market, such as childcare and the services industry.
Enact legislation to recognise the right to collective bargaining. The State must recognise and implement the right of workers in any sector to join a trade union.
Undertake a human rights and equality impact assessment on all proposed budgetary measures, make these assessments publicly available and ensure they are discussed by the Oireachtas.
Subject the Habitual Residence Condition to a human rights and equality impact assessment, in line with the 2012 recommendation of UN Expert on Human Rights and Extreme Poverty.
Give all workers, regardless of their immigration status, access to social security payments when they have made social insurance contributions. Applications for citizenship should not be influenced by a person exercising his or her right to claim a social security payment to which he or she is legally entitled.
End the discriminatory practice of excluding certain groups of children living in Ireland from access to the Child Benefit payment, including those based on their or their parents’ immigration status.
Provide adequate support for one parent families to ensure they can care for their children and have access to affordable childcare arrangements.
Revise the social security system to ensure that self-employed people can access necessary payments based on their social insurance contributions.
Conduct a comprehensive survey on the Qualified Adults Allowance.
Seek information and advice on the impact of budget decisions and austerity measures on those at risk of poverty from the National Human Rights Structures, including the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and those dealing with the protection of human rights of vulnerable groups.
End the discriminatory practice of providing a lower rate of payment to young people under 25 years
Collect and collate data on people with a disability in need of social security support in order to tailor payments to the particular needs of this group and make this data public.
Ensure when recovering overpayments that a person’s income is not reduced below a figure which would have a negative impact on their fundamental right to an adequate standard of living and social security.
Monitor carefully cuts to supports for older people to ensure that older people’s health and wellbeing are not impacted and that they have an adequate standard of living.
Reverse cuts to the Household Benefits Package to reduce the risk of fuel poverty.
Grant access for direct provision residents to necessary social security payments in order to enjoy an adequate standard of living.
Carry out targeted training with departmental staff to improve the assistance and support provided to social welfare applicants so they can supply the requisite information at the outset of their application and thus reduce the need for appeals.
Ensure appellants are entitled to an oral hearing and decisions of the Social Welfare Appeals Office are published routinely.
Change the status of the Social Welfare Appeals Office to create an independent body which can ensure fairness, transparency and consistency in decision-making.
Hold a referendum on the definition of the family to ensure that it protects all families and not just families based on marriage.
Enact the Children and Family Relationships Bill as a matter of urgency to ensure that all families are afforded the widest possible protection and assistance under domestic law.
Ensure mothers are adequately supported financially so they can avail of their full maternity leave entitlements if they so wish.
Enact the Parental Leave Bill as soon as possible.
Put in place a high quality and affordable system of early childcare services.
Provide adequate resources for victims of domestic violence to ensure that they are not forced to return to violent situations and are supported to leave abusive relationships.
Allocate resources to fund a follow-up Sexual Abuse and Violence in Ireland (SAVI) Report to establish the nature and extent of sexual abuse and violence in Ireland
Prioritise within the work of COSC (The National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence) the collection of disaggregated data on domestic violence.
Introduce primary legislation to govern family reunification and an independent Immigration Appeals Tribunal to provide an inexpensive and effective process to applicants. Applicants should be supported by the Legal Aid Board where necessary.
Carry out adequate social impact assessments in relation to all budgetary decisions and adopt a whole-of-government approach to tackling poverty and social exclusion.
Introduce a food poverty indicator and update it on an annual basis to take account of current prices.
Target resources at ensuring that people do not suffer from food poverty and are able to access affordable and nutritious food.
Ensure alleviation measures are properly targeted at people with low incomes and provide safe drinking water without charge for all those affected by contaminated water supplies.
Incorporate a right to adequate housing into the Constitution, as articulated by the Committee in its General Comment No. 4.
Amend the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears to allow a borrower full rights of appeal to an independent third party where a lender declines to offer an alternative repayment arrangement or offers an unsuitable arrangement.
Provide civil legal aid to borrowers or tenants in difficulty to ensure that they receive adequate legal advice and are supported in any legal proceedings which may result in repossession or eviction.
Ensure adequate resources are provided to implement national homelessness policy in the short, medium and longer-term. In particular, appropriate and adequate resources should be provided for families losing their homes.
Provide adequate social housing in line with the advice given by the Housing Agency and alternatives to construction should be considered given the number of vacant houses in the State.
Invest in Approved Housing Bodies to help meet the demand for social housing.
Ensure migrants resident in the State can access the housing list if they have a housing need.
Carry out further training with Local Authority staff to ensure that rules are applied correctly and consistently.
Ensure all migrants in need regardless of their immigration status have access to homeless services.
Revise the Rent Supplement limits to adequately reflect the rental market to prevent the need for top-up payments by tenants.
Implement the Housing Assessment Payment to address urgent housing needs and put in place other measures to ensure that the payment does not become a long-term solution.
Introduce a system of rent controls to ensure that rent is affordable for tenants.
Provide adequate funding for the completion of regeneration projects and adopt a legislative framework for a National Public Housing Estates Regeneration Programme.
Enforce regulations to maintain appropriate quality standards in rented accommodation to ensure that the accommodation is habitable.
Provide adequate funding for Traveller-specific accommodation and spend the budget for that purpose.
Opt into Article 31 of the Revised European Social Charter.
Repeal Section 24 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2002.
Implement sanctions for local authorities who fail to meet their legal obligations under the (Housing Traveller Accommodation Act 1998.
Ensure that the Housing Adaption Grants scheme is adequate to meet the need of persons with disabilities to live in dignity in their homes.
Provide adequate resources to the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) to enable it to conduct regular inspections of conditions in residential centres. Where gross violations of rights occur ensure that these are investigated fully by the appropriate agencies and sanctions are imposed for non-compliance with quality standards.
Introduce a single asylum procedure as a matter of urgency.
Abolish the direct provision system as it has failed to adequately protect the social, economic and cultural rights of those seeking protection in Ireland. While it remains in place, introduce a time limit of nine months after which anyone who has not received a decision through no fault of their own should be able to leave direct provision accommodation and access relevant social security payments and the labour market.
Target resources at preventative measures to reduce the rate of chronic illnesses and preventable diseases to reduce pressure on the health service.
Provide adequate resources for acute, primary care and community-based services to ensure people can access appropriate care and treatment in a timely way.
Provide adequate resources for mental health services including the full amount of development funding as outlined in the Programme for Government.
Ensure no child or young person is placed in an adult facility and increase financial support for the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service to cope with demand and ensure that no child or young person is left waiting for essential mental healthcare.
Resource mental health supports and prioritise non-coercive forms of treatment and alternative pathways to mental health recovery, based on peer support.
Ensure that contraception is both accessible and affordable for people on low incomes who require it.
Set out how it intends to progress its plans for universal health care and prioritise funding to implement the system. In the meantime, ensure that no further measures are introduced to impact on the affordability of private health insurance for those on low or moderate incomes who do not qualify for a medical card.
Ensure anyone in need of financial assistance to access medical services has access to a medical card based on their medical need.
Conduct a review of the impact of prescription charges on low-income individuals and families, in particular for older people.
Continue the implementation of measures to ensure greater use of generic drugs and reduce the high cost of medication in Ireland.
Develop a new National Traveller Health Implementation Plan to address the findings of the All Ireland Traveller Health Study.
Implement measures aimed at reducing mortality rates for Traveller children.
Support older people to stay in their homes for as long as possible allowing them to live in dignity.
Provide a more cost-effective alternative to nursing home care.
Develop a long-term strategy to address educational disadvantage and ensure it is adequately resourced.
Publish and begin action on the plan to fully implement the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs (EPSEN)Act 2004 and reform the support allocation model to bring an end to exclusionary practices.
Ensure that migrant children, for whom English is not their first language, receive appropriate language supports to assist with any educational difficulties they may encounter.
Restore the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance for all claimants who qualify.
Ensure that all schools receive the necessary financial support to operate an adequate book rental scheme.
Ensure that transport costs are affordable and will not place an onerous burden on parents of school-going children.
Reduce the student contribution fee and ensure that third-level students are adequately supported to complete their courses.
Restore targeted resources to ensure the participation of Travellers & Roma in education.
Continue the divestment of schools at a faster rate to ensure greater multi and non-denominational school options are available for school-going children.
Ensure that minority religion-schools are not disproportionately impacted by rationalisation measures.
Ensure that disadvantaged individuals and groups are able to access and enjoy their cultural rights through targeted inclusion measures including community arts initiatives.
Consider and adopt a Community Culture Strategy.
Provide the Arts Council with adequate resources to implement the Cultural Diversity and the Arts Policy and Strategy.
Adequately resource the Irish Language Commissioner’s office.
Ensure Irish speakers can avail of their constitutional and statutory rights to access services in the Irish language.
Legislate to officially recognise Irish Sign Language.
Recognise Traveller ethnicity as a matter of urgency and put in place long-term sustainable measures to ensure ongoing support and development of Traveller culture.
Adequately resource the National Broadband Plan to ensure that anyone living in a rural area requiring access to broadband internet can enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and access it without difficulties.
Strengthen the rural coverage mandate of the Communications Regulator.
Ensure adequate state interventions where existing commercial internet service providers fail to provide rural broadband.