Parallel Report Updates

Here are the updates to the Parallel Report listed in chronological order.


List of organisations contributing to the Parallel Report:


A. Introduction

B. Article by Article Examination

Article 1

Article 2: Progressive realisation of rights, non-discrimination

Article 3: Gender equality

Article 4

Article 5

Article 6: Right to work

Article 7: Right to just and favourable conditions of work

Article 8: Right to organise

Article 9: Right to social security

  • 9.1 Accessibility
    1. February 2015: Concerns over Changes to One Parent Family Payment - 31/03/2015 17:44:00

      Organisations working with lone parents have warned of the confusion and distress they say has been caused by the forthcoming changes.  Any parent in receipt of the payment whose youngest child is seven years or older will receive their last payment on June 25th 2015. Stuart Duffin from One Family has said that “[o]ver 29 per cent of one-parent families are at risk of poverty and 63 per cent of all one-parent households experience will no longer be feasible for them to remain in their part-time jobs. These changes will lead to even greater and deeper poverty for one-parent families.”

    2. February 2015:Changes to One Parent Family Payment - 31/03/2015 17:42:00

      The One Parent Family Payment (OPFP) has been significantly altered in the past four years. The qualifying age of the youngest child has been reduced from 18 years old in 2011 to 7 years old in 2015. Recipients of the OPFP were allowed to earn up to €146.50 per week in 2011 but this figure has been reduced to €90 in 2014 and will be reduced further to €60 in 2016. When the OPFP finishes on June 25th 2015 former recipients of the OPFP will become recipients of Jobseekers Allowance (JA) or Transitional Jobseekers Allowance (TJA), if their youngest child is less than 13 years of age. The TJA allows recipients who have part-time work to continue earning up to €90 per week without having their entitlement cut and to have their hours spread over more than three days a week. Those who go straight on to JA, can work a maximum of three days a week before their entitlement is affected and can only earn up to €60 before their entitlement is cut.

  • 9.3 Adequacy
  • 9.4 Accountability and Remedies

Article 10: Right to protection of family life

Article 11: Right to adequate standard of living - food, clothing and housing

  • 11.1 Poverty and Social Exclusion
    1. April 2015: Income Inequality Affected for the Poorest 2008-2013 - 24/04/2015 14:59:00

      Research conducted by the Economic and Social Rights Institute (ESRI) found that of the 10 per cent of the poorest population experienced a 20 per cent reduction in their income from 2008-2013 compared with an average reduction of 13 per cent . When housing costs are taken into account here there is an even greater level of inequality rising to 27 per cent for the poorest 10 per cent measured against an average of 15 per cent.

      • ESRI, The Great Recession, Austerity and Inequality: Evidence from Ireland, Saveage, M., Callan, T, Nolan, B. & Colgan, B. April 2015.
    2. February 2015: Growing Inequality in Ireland - 31/03/2015 15:22:00

      According to the recent research from an Irish think-thank more than 30 per cent of all the income in Ireland is in the hands of the top 10 per cent of earners. The report says that Ireland is now the most unequal country in the EU when it comes to how the economy distributes income, before taxes and social welfare payments are factored in.

      As inequality grows, the report comments on how it will get harder and harder to maintain the tax and welfare system and prevent inequality eroding the wellbeing of our society.

      1. TASC Report. Cherishing All Equally: Economic Inequality in Ireland. Nat O Connor and Cormac Staunton. February 2015 
    3. March 2015: Underfunding of Child and Family Agency - 30/03/2015 14:34:00

      The board of the Child and Family Agency warned the Minister for Children, Dr. James Reilly, that funding pressures could lead to draconian cuts to vital supports for young people at risk. The budget that was allocated in December 2014 has meant that the agency has been left critically underfunded (by €19m ). These cuts in services have come at a time when more than 8,000 abuse, neglect and welfare concerns over children are waiting to be allocated a social worker.

    4. January 2015: Increase in Rates of Deprivation and Consistent Poverty - 24/03/2015 15:15:00

      According to new figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) more than a million people suffered enforced deprivation in 2013 which is more than double the rate prior to the economic crash. The numbers found to be consistently poor also increased, up from 7.7 per cent to 8.2 per cent.

    5. February 2015: Child Poverty a National Scandal - 23/03/2015 15:14:00

      The Government received an F grade in the area of child poverty in the 2015 Report Card published by the Children’s Rights Alliance. It grades the Government’s performance on issues affecting children against stated commitments in the programme for government.

  • 11.2 Accessibility and Adequacy of Food
    1. April 2015: Investment Necessary to Address Rising Food Poverty - 15/04/2015 18:25:00

      Food poverty is rising in Ireland, with over 600,00 experiencing such deprivation. One in six children are reported to not have eaten a breakfast during the weekdays. Although the government is providing €40 for the School Meals Programme to 850 of the most disadvantaged schools, 100 of these cannot avail of the funding as they do not have the necessary facilities to operate the scheme. A once-off investment of €500,00 is required to address this gap, claims Healthy Food for All, an organistion decidated to reducing food poverty.

  • 11.3 Right to Water
  • 11.4 Right to Housing
    1. March 2015: Repossession Figures - 31/03/2015 16:05:00

      The Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation estimates as many as 25,000 homes could be repossessed in 2015 alone. FLAC has urged the government to address the mortgage arrears crisis through the implementation of a three point plan to ensure realistic, humane, and sustainable solutions to the problem. 

    2. March 2015: Concerns of Homeless Charities after Review of Rent Supplement - 30/03/2015 15:22:00

      The review of the rent supplement scheme, a social welfare housing payment for those in the private rented sector, found that increasing rent thresholds could potentially add to further rental inflation in an already distressed market affecting not only claimants but also lower-income workers and students. However two leading homelessness charities expressed their disappointment with the Department of Social Protection’s decision not to increase rent thresholds for those in receipt of rent supplement and warned it will lead to increased homelessness for families. As of March 2015, 70,500 people were in receipt of rent supplement, representing just under 25 per cent of all private rented tenants.

    3. November 2014: Social Housing Strategy 2020 - 26/03/2015 17:55:00

      The Government announced its Social Housing Strateggy 2020 which will provide 35,000 houses over the next 6 years. In 2015 the Department of the Envirnoment, Community & Local Government has proposed that 7,400 unit will be available for social housing purposes however this does not address the immediate social housing needs of almost 100,000 people on the waiting list for housing. The majority of housing units for 2015 will be utilised from the private rented sector with the government hoping that long term and short term leases can be arranged with landlords. A person's housing need is deemed to be met if they are renting in the private rented sector supported by the government with a housing benefit although the person is not provided with long term security.

    4. December 2014: Increase in Homeless Families - 26/03/2015 17:32:00

      A homeless charity issued figures for November 2014 which revealed that 42 families became homeless in this month alone. Overall 450 families have become homeless from January to November 2014 which includes over 1,000 children. The emergency accomodations conditions that families have to live in raise child welfare concerns and are unacceptable for families to live in for long periods of time. The charity attributes the rise in the numbers of homesless families to the inadequacy of rent supplement levels in particular in Dublin but the governement is opposed to introducing rent caps.

    5. December 2014: Increase in Homelessness Accommodaton - 25/03/2015 18:30:00

      After the death of a homeless man outside the government buildings in early December 2014 the government has provided an additional 271 beds in the Dublin region. Figures from end of 2014 show that 1, 762 beds are now available to homeless people in Dublin.

    6. March 2015: Impact of Direct Provision on Asylum Seekers - 24/03/2015 13:00:00

      According to a report commissioned by the UNHCR, the length of time asylum seekers spend in State-funded accommodation in Ireland is leading to dependency and disempowerment among some of those seeking protection. The report Towards a New Beginning has found that some applicants  have spent up to a decade in the system waiting for their status to be decided.

      1. UNHCR Report: Towards a New Beginning. Refugee Integration in Ireland. May 2014. 
    7. March 2015: Housing Complaint deemed Admissible by European Committee of Social Rights - 24/03/2015 11:58:00

      A landmark collective complaint against Ireland, which outlines appalling and widespread sub-standard housing issues across 20 Local Authority housing estates, has been deemed admissible for further investigation by the European Committee of Social Rights through a decision adopted on Tuesday 17 March.

      The complaint stresses the absence of any avenue for tenants to legally challenge their conditions or otherwise raise problems in a structured way, and the lack of any independent representative organisation for Local Authority tenants

    8. March 2015: Local Authority Duty regarding Traveller's Accommodation Needs - 23/03/2015 16:46:00

      The case South Dublin County Council v O’Donnell confirmed that local authorities have statutory duties to provide halting sites and “temporary dwellings” to Travellers however the European Convention on Human Rights did not confer such a right, Judge MacMenamin interpreted caravans as non-dwellings. In this case a Traveller woman with cerebral palsy confined to a wheelchair was living in accommodation “unfit for human habitation” where the local authority could have taken decisions to provide suitable accommodation or financial assistance to her to address her housing needs. The court found that the South Dublin County Council failed in discharging their statutory duty and awarded the claimant “modest” damages, the claimant's housing needs are yet to be addressed.

Article 12: Right to health

Article 13: Right to education

  • 13.1 Access to Education
    1. April 2015: Draft Admissions Bill Publication - 09/04/2015 17:25:00

      The government published the draft Education (Admission to School) Bill 2015 to formerly lay out the admissions procedures for schools, families and patron bodies. There has been criticism from organisations with a non-demonintational ethos that the bill does not tackle the issue of discrimination by religious run schools in accessing education. There is no commitment from the government to remove S. 7 (3) (c) of the Equal Status Act 2000 which allows a religious school to not accept students if it is in keeping with their ethos.

    2. April 2015: Analysis of Educational Inequality - 09/04/2015 16:19:00

      A research institute found students of DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) are more likely to have parents who are unemployed, unskilled, have lower levels of education, from lone parent families,  from traveller, non-English speaking backgrounds or have special educational needs. Schools in the Urban Band 1 of DEIS have the highest concentration of disadvantage. Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan acknowledged that the report challenged the Government to consider whether sufficent funding is being allocated to address the current educational inequalities.

      The report notes that evaluations of DEIS have not included a control group and so,  it also queries the improvements in reading and maths in these schools between 2007 and 2013, when context is given to the 2014 National Assessment which shows an improvement in reading across all primary schools.

    3. March 2015: Assessment of Children with Disabilities in Education - 08/04/2015 17:28:00

      In a national report examining the data from a survey from 2006 on children with disabilities it found that while most children with disabilities are educated in mainstream schools, they were more likely to be placed in a special education setting if they had speech or intellectual disabilities, or if they were from households where the parents were unemployed. Ten per cent of students with disabilities reported that their needs were not being met in the schools they attended. The report found that children with emotional, psychological and mental health difficulties were more likely to be absent from school and more likely to be socially isolated than their peers, pointing to a need for schools to provide more supports to students with these difficulties. 

    4. March 2015: Disproportionate Impact of Austerity on Children with Special Needs - 25/03/2015 17:51:00

      An EU report on the impact of austerity in Ireland noted the disproportionate impact of austerity on children with special educational needs, due to the reduction in special educational assistants as well as resource teaching time being reduced by 10% in 2011 and a further 5% in 2012. It also noted that increasing numbers of children with disabilities were being excluded from mainstream schools as the schools could not financially support them.

    5. Mar 2015: Barriers identified for people with intellectual disabilities in education and training - 05/03/2015 12:30:00

      A report by a community service provider (Walk), identified structural barriers and a “culture of low expectations” in education circles in limiting the prospects of those with intellectual disabilities in accessing education and training courses. 

      A prevous report (ESRI) had identiifed that only 4 per cent of people with an intellectual disability had a third-level degree, and 63 per cent had not progressed to second level.

  • 13.2 Affordability of Education
  • 13.3 Non-Discrimination in Education
    1. February 2015: Indirect Discrimination Against Traveller Boy in Accessing Second Level Education - 23/03/2015 17:35:00

      The Supreme Court has unanimously dismissed an appeal by a boy from the Traveller community who challenged the refusal of his admission to the Christian Brothers High School in Clonmel, Co Tipperary in 2009. The boy’s mother claimed that because most Travellers of her son’s father’s generation had not attended secondary school at all, such ‘parent rule’ policies discriminated against Travellers.

    2. Oct 2014: Inadequate funding for divestment of patronage of non-denominational schools - 05/03/2015 10:00:00

      Funding for the divestment of patronage of non-denominational schools is not sufficiently considered by the State, as alternative primary schools have only been financed partially (15 per cent) and are struggling to keep up with growing demand. 

Article 14: Right to free primary education

Article 15: Right to a cultural life

  • 15.1 State resources for culture and the arts and participation
  • 15.2 Language Rights
    1. February 2015: Resignation of Irish Language Commissioner - 08/04/2015 17:14:00

      The Irish Language Commissioner stepped down in February 2014  as a result of Government inaction through the marginalisation of the Irish language and the Gaeltacht (Irish speaking designated areas). The Irish League (Conradh na Gaelige) which promotes the Irish language attributed the Commissioner's resignation to Government unwillingness to guarantee the Irish speaking community State services through Irish, and its enforcement of the use of English on theIrish speaking community, adding to the decline of the Gaeltacht.


    2. March 2015: Report from Committee on Official Languages Bill (Amendment) 2014 - 24/03/2015 14:04:00

      A government Committee on Environment, Culture and Gaeltacht published a report on the General Scheme of the Official Languages (Amendment) Bill 2014 at the beginning of 2015.

      The organisation promoting the Irish language, Conradh na Gaeilge, welcomed the recommendation from the Committee that 10 per cent of all civil servants in each department should be proficient in the Irish language. However the adoption of best practice originating from Wales was ignored by the Committee, where every minister should have to submit any new policy proposal or bill to the Language Commissioners Office to seek their opinion as to whether it could damage the use of the language, along with this the proposal that the names of all public companies should be in Irish was also overlooked.

  • 15.3 Recognition of Traveller Ethnicity and Culture
  • 15.4 Access to broadband internet in rural areas
    1. January 2015: Ranking of Ireland's Internet - 23/03/2015 15:05:00

      Ireland is placed as 7th fastest in the world for internet speed but two thirds of the country still make do with a sub-standard internet speed. A third of the Irish population still has an internet connection of less than 4mbs, placing Ireland closer to Turkey and Portugal in terms of broadband distribution 

Table of Cases

Table of Legislation

Table of Figures