Here are the updates to the Parallel Report listed in chronological order.
- A.1 Incorporation of the Covenant into Domestic Law
- A.2 The Protection Afforded to Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Irish Law
- A.3 Access to Justice for People on Low Incomes
- A.4 Other International Protection for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
- 2.1 Use of Maximum Available Resources
April 2015: Socio-Economic Rights require Concerted Investment - 07/04/2015 16:17:00
A social justice organisation has published a review for 2015 which highlights areas in need of great socio-economic investment such as social housing, health, public tranpsort (including rural), education, water and broadband due to the significant cuts to social services and social infrastructure throughout Ireland during the period between 2008 and 2014.The review notes that addressing these infrastructure deficits will require much greater investment than is currently available or planned.
- Social Justice Ireland. Towards A Just Society: Securing Economic Development, Social Equity and Sustainability. 07/04/15
Test update - 22/01/2015 13:41:00
- 2.2 Protection of ESC Rights without Discrimination: Human Rights and Equality Infrastructure
- 2.3 Government Response to Anti-Poverty and Social Inclusion Measures
- 2.4 Government Responses to Discrimination and Racism
March 2015: Figures on Discrimination and Racism July-December 2014 - 09/04/2015 10:07:00
The Irish Network against Racism (ENAR) received 182 reports of incidents of racist verbal abuse, violence, and discrimination from July-September 2014. The report also documented a low level of satisfaction with responses to complaints about abuse and a high level of confusion among victims about supports available from the Gardaí. Individuals of Black African origin were the demographic most likely to be the target of racism during daylight hours in busy areas. The report also documented a rise in the number of anti-Semitic and Islamophobic reported incidents.
- Reports of Racism in Ireland, 5th+6th quarterly reports of iReport.ie, ENAR, March 2015
- 3.1 National Women’s Strategy
March 2015: €10 million EU funding for Gender Equality redirected elsewhere - 22/04/2015 15:59:00
The Euopean Parliament discovered that approximately 10million euro of EU funding provided specifically to improve gender equality in employment has been redirected to other labour market programmes which do not have a gender inclusive focus. The National Women’s Council of Ireland believe this “send[s] a very clear signal that the women’s labour market needs are not being taken seriously by government.”
- 3.2 Constitutional Convention
- 6.1 State Response to Unemployment
March 2015: Underspend of Youth Guarantee Money - 24/03/2015 11:11:00
EU Youth Guarantee money provided to help young people in Ballymun, a disadvantaged area, aged between 18-24 access jobs, internships, training schemes and other educational programmes has been underspent by €202,000 and is likely to be returned to the EU in what is being called a “missed opportunity for the area”.
March 2015: Effect of Public Sector Freeze on Person with Disabilities - 20/03/2015 17:20:00
A study from the National Disability Authority, found that Irish people with a disability were found to be disproportionately affected by the public sector employment decline since the Governments moratorium on recruitment in 2009 Budget.(1) The number of disabled people employed in the public sector declined by 9.9% in 2010, in comparison to a 4% decline in overall employment that year.(2)
Jan 2015: Huge rise in unemployed youth 2006-2012 - 05/03/2015 12:03:00
A study from independent research body the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) found that there was a dramatic increase in youth unemployment in the six years from 2006 to 2012, rising from 9.9% to 33%. The proportion of unemployed young people with no formal education increased over this period, along with the number of long-term unemployed and those not in any form of employment.
- 6.3 Restrictions on the Right to Work
- 6.4 Forced Labour and Trafficking of Migrants
January 2015: Magdalen Laundries Redress Scheme - 30/03/2015 17:34:00
Justice For Magdalenes Research criticised the Government’s proposed redress scheme for survivors of abuse and forced labour at several church run institutions. The Report of the Magdalene Commission had suggested that survivors should receive an entitlement to a comprehensive healthcare package, including counselling, dental care, and physiotherapy services. Proposed legislation seemed to offer little more than the medical card, however the Bill was amended to include free access to physiotherapy and chiropody services. The report’s recommendation that Contributory State Pension payments be backdated to the women’s retirement age was not fully implemented.
March 2015: High Court Case to Challenge Right to Privacy in Direct Provision - 26/03/2015 12:47:00
A victim of human trafficking is seeking to challenge the system of direct provision, which houses and provides for the basic needs of asylum seekers, in the High Court on the grounds that is has infringed on her right to privacy under the Irish Constitution.
Carolan, M.,"Trafficking victim claims rights breached in direct provision", Irish Times, 24 March 2015
- 7.1 Fair Wages
April 2015: Inadequacy of National Minimum Wage - 22/04/2015 17:22:00
The national minimum wage has been proven to be inadequate in meeting the basic needs of seven different huoseholds, based on numerical research carried out on the minimum essential standard of living.
January 2015: Committee of Social Rights determine Ireland's National Minimum Wage to be "Insufficient" - 02/04/2015 17:32:00
In January the European Committee of Social Rights, the body which monitors implementation of the Revised European Social Charter, published its Conclusions for 2014 in relation to Ireland’s implementation of the rights enunciated int the Charter. This year’s report focused particularly on labour rights, finding that Ireland’s national minimum wage was insufficient to ensure a decent standard of living. The Committee found that the State was failing to protect workers’ rights to increased pay for overtime work. It also found that the absolute ban on police strikes and ban on union membership was a violation of the Charter.
February 2015: Low Pay Commission - 02/04/2015 16:36:00
The Government has established an indpendent body, the Low Pay Commission, to assess the adequacy of the the national minimum wage, the Commission is due to report back in mid-July of this year. This commission will be tasked with evalutaitng the minimum wage on an annual basis.
April 2015: Worker's Strike on lack of favourable work conditions - 02/04/2015 16:14:00
Over 5000 employees of one of the largest retailers in Ireland, Dunnes Stores, who are members of the Mandate Trade Union went on strike in a dispute over secure hours and earnings, job security, fair pay and the right to trade union representation.
Jan 2015: only 27% secure full time employment from JobBridge placement - 27/02/2015 12:37:00
In a study carried out by the National Youth Council of Ireland, only 27% of participants secure full time employment from a JobBridge placement, while 50 per cent of all survey respondents named the cost of doing an internship (travel costs) as the main concern or difficulty they experienced during the internship.
See National Youth Council of Ireland, JobBridge: Stepping stone or Dead end? Reviewing the National Internship Scheme, JobBridge based on the views perspectives and experience of participants aged 18-25 years, January 2015.
Feb 2015: Department of Social Protection confirm no increase in JobBridge top-ups for U-25s - 27/02/2015 12:14:00
In Feb 2015 a spokesman for the Department of Social Protection confirmed in a report for TheJournal.ie that the JobBridge €50 top-up won’t be increased for the under 25s. Some 58.5% of people under the age of 25 receive a weekly social welfare payment of €100 or €144 before JobBridge, not €188 as for people aged over 25..
- 7.2 Gender Pay Gap
- 7.3 Discrimination and Exploitation in the Workplace
Feb 2015: Universities sign up to charter again gender inquality in university posts as only one in 5 professors are women - 05/03/2015 12:24:00
Seven of Ireland’s universities have signed, and fourteen other institutions will be signing up, to a charter against gender inequality with the aim of boosting women’s participation in senior posts. In December 2015 the Higher Education Authority reported that only 19% of university professors are women, while women make up 45% of academic staff just 29% of senior academic staff.
- 8.1 Restrictions on the Right to Collective Bargaining
November 2014: Labour Court Decision on Retailer - 30/03/2015 16:28:00
Retailer Dunnes Stores has said that it has a constitutional right not to engage directly with trade unions despite a Labour Court ruling advising that they should engage with their workers’ representatives. This is in relation to the results of the recent ‘Decency for Dunnes Workers’ which show serious signs of employee ill-treatment.
- 9.1 Accessibility
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 deprivation......it 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.”
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
- 10.1 Families in Ireland and Legal Protection
April 2015: Parental Leave Extension under Consideration - 07/04/2015 15:14:00
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs is considering introducing a one year split parental leave however no commitment has been made and no timeline for its introduction discussed yet, which early childcare organisations believe could take up to five years.
- Kelly, F. James Reilly considers one year’s split leave for new parents, Irish Times, 6 April 2015.
- Early Childhood Ireland. Statement regarding reports about extension in parental leave to one year. Accessed 07/04/15
April 2015: Inadequate Service for Children in Care - 01/04/2015 17:32:00
The Child Care Law Reporting Project published a volume of 30 case histories, with a particular focus on cases involving children who must be cared for in a secure unit. The shortage of secure care places, and in some cases, the lack of suitable therapy available in Ireland was a matter of concern. Some children are being sent abroad for treatment because of the lack of suitable treatment facilities here. In some cases, children who received treatment abroad were unable to return when their treatment had finished because of a lack of suitable placement in Ireland.
January 2015: Introduction of the Gender Recognition Bill 2014 & its Shortcomings - 25/03/2015 18:04:00
Following an agreement in November 2014 to settle the Lydia Foy case, the Gender Recognition Bill 2014 was introduced in the Upper House of the Irish Parliament on 21st January 2015.
There are three main shortcomings of the Bill, firstly applicants would be required to obtain a certificate from a medical practitioner to the effect that they had transitioned or were in the course of transitioning to the gender opposite to the gender in which they had been registered. This certificate could be issued only by highly qualified medical specialists, psychiatrists or endocrinologists.
Secondly the Bill requires an applicant for gender recognition to be single, thus forcing married couples to divorce as a pre-condition for recognition of the Trans partner in her/his preferred gender. This provision would be repealed if the marriage equality referendum is carried in May 2015.
Lastly the minimum age for recognition was set at 18 years. This could be set aside for young persons between 16 years and 18 years but only if they could get medical certificates from two medical specialists, had the consent of both parents, and obtained a court order permitting them to be officially registered in their preferred gender.
The legislation is to be reviewed in two years time. The Bill has yet to be enact ed.
- 10.2 Maternity Protection Measures and Parental Leave
- 10.3 Affordability of Childcare
March 2015: Childcare Costs Limited Lone Parents' Opportunities in Boom - 23/04/2015 10:44:00
The 2015 Country Report from the European Parliament state that women, in particular single mothers, encounter substantial obstacles preventing them from participation on equal basis in the work market. “Research shows that even during times of economic growth in Ireland, single mothers with pre-school children were one of the few exceptions to the general rising tide of labour market participation”. The report cites the cost of childcare as a significant barrier to female participation in the workforce in Ireland.
- European Parliament: Policy Department C: Citizen’s rights and Constitutional Affairs: Civil liberties, justice and Home Affairs: The Impact of the crisis on fundamental rights across Member States of the EU Country Report on Ireland, March 2015
- United Nations General Assembly, ‘Report of the independent expert on the question of human rights and extreme poverty, Sepulveda Carmona M.,: Mission to Ireland’, Human Rights Council Seventeenth Session, 17 May 2011 pp 17
- Center for Economic and Social Rights, ‘Mauled by the Celtic Tiger: Human rights in Ireland’s economic meltdown: Rights in crisis briefing paper’, February 2012
April 2015: Quality Affordable Childcare still Beyond Reach for Many - 17/04/2015 18:50:00
The government annouced capital funding of €7million for "developing quality childcare", €5million of which will be available in grant to community/not-for-profit childcare services with the remaining provided to private and community childcare. A leading children rights organisation cautioned that further investment in quality affordable early childcare is paramount to ensuring better development outcomes for the most disadvantaged.
- 10.4 Victims of Domestic Violence
March 2015: Perception of Domestic Violence in Ireland - 30/03/2015 15:04:00
Recent research shows that a radical change is needed in order for domestic violence to be viewed as a crime rather than a "nuisance". Sharon O’Halloran the CEO of SAFE Ireland has said while thirty-four recommendations were made in the research, implementing just four would make an immediate difference to women including the establishment of a civil and criminal law definition of domestic violence.
- SAFE Ireland. The Lawlessness of the Home; Women’s experience of seeking legal remedies to domestic violence and abuse in the Irish legal system. Launched 30/03/15
- 10.5 Family Reunification
- 11.1 Poverty and Social Exclusion
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.
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.
- TASC Report. Cherishing All Equally: Economic Inequality in Ireland. Nat O Connor and Cormac Staunton. February 2015
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.
- The Irish Times. Minister warned supports for young could face ‘draconian’ cuts. 30 March 2015
- Department of Children and Youth Affairs Budget 2015 Announcement, 14 October 2014
- Child and Family Agency. Commissioning Strategy. August 2013
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.
- Central Statistics Office. Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) 2013 figures.
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
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.
- Health Food for All, Press Release, 15 April 2015
- 11.3 Right to Water
- 11.4 Right to Housing
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.
- The Irish Court Service, Statistics for Mortgage, repossession and ejectment for 2014 Updated March 2015
- How do we prevent mass repossessions of family homes? David Hall CEO of The Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation, February 2015
- FLAC Press Release. Three point plan needed from Government to address mortgage arrears crisis. 9 March 2015
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.
- Department of Social Protection publishes review of the maximum rent limits, 27 March 2015
- Peter McVerry Trust statement on the Rent Supplement Review. Press Statement 27 March 2015& Focus Ireland, Failure to Increase Rent Supplement Thresholds Signs The Eviction Notice for Hundreds of Families, Press Release 27 March 2015
- Private Residential Tenancies Board, Latest News,Latest Data from PRTB Quarterly Rent Index,March 2015.
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.
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.
Focus Ireland Warn's that Government's Inaction on Rent Supplement and Rents Regulation is Forcing more Families into Homelessness, Press Release, 16 December 2014
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.
- Dublin Region Homeless Executive Media Statement, 9 January 2015
- Dublin Region Homeless Executive, Update on Government Summit Actions to respond to homelessness (December 2014) in the Dublin Region, February 2015
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.
- UNHCR Report: Towards a New Beginning. Refugee Integration in Ireland. May 2014.
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
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.
- 12.1 Access to Adequate Healthcare Services
October 2014: Health Inequalities amongst Children linked to Socio-Economic Factors - 08/04/2015 11:58:00
According to the findings of a report by an Irish public health institute social determinants of health inequalities for three year old children in households with lower social class or one parent families were more likely to have higher prevalence of longstanding health conditions.
- Longstanding health conditions among three-year-old children in the Republic of Ireland in 2011, A report based on data from the “Growing Up in Ireland” study, Institute of Public Health in Ireland, October 2014.
September 2014: Expert Panel Review of Medical Card Eligibility - 07/04/2015 14:47:00
The Health Service Executive established an Expert Panel to assess the effectiveness of eligibility criteria for medical cards following on from the outcry over removing discretionary medical cards from critically and terminally ill people earlier in 2014.
A means test has been utilised since the scheme’s operation alongside discretionary administration of medical cards based on medical need. The panel examined whether a priority list of medical conditions could be relied on to determine eligibility for a medical card.
The panel concluded that the current system would serve the purpose better by meeting medical need than a list of priority medical conditions which could be more open to subjectivity.
February 2015: Waiting Times for Healthcare Treatment - 07/04/2015 12:41:00
˃ 3 months
˃ 6 months
˃ 12 months
In-patient & day cases
This table presents the increased waiting times of in-patient and day cases and out-patients from February 2015 when compared with February 2014.
- National Treatment Purchase Fund, Hospital Trend Analysis of Waiting Times - In-Patients and Day Cases, 26/02/15
- National Treatment Purchase Fund, Out-Patient Data, 26/02/15
April 2015: Call for reform of Lunacy Act 1871 - 02/04/2015 16:09:00
A group of NGOs delivered a petition to Government calling on it to deliver on a promise to abolish the Lunacy Act 1871 and to introduce modern human rights compliant legislation for persons with intellectual disabilities. The Lunacy Act currently affects around 600,000 people living in Ireland, as well as around 2,500 people who are wards of court. The group of NGOs urged the Government to enact the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill which would abolish the ‘archaic’ ward of court system and bring in supported decision-making mechanisms for people with intellectual disabilities.
March 2015: Reviews of Deaths of 26 Young People in Care Published - 27/03/2015 16:50:00
Independent reviews into the deaths in 2014 of 26 young people known to social services were published in March by the National Review Panel. Eight of these young people died by suicide. The Panel investigates serious incidents occurring in the care system. It found delays in accessing psychology services of up to two years in some cases. In one of the cases investigated, the young person was unable to access mental health services in the days before her suicide. The Panel also found that in some cases, young people at risk of suicide but who had not been diagnosed with a mental illness were unable to access appropriate services. High turnover of social workers was also a matter of concern.
March 2015: Report on Mental Health of Irish Children - 27/03/2015 16:44:00
A report was published in March by the Children’s Mental Health Coalition into the mental health needs of Irish children and adolescents. The report records that in 2014, one-third of children admitted to hospital suffering with mental health difficulties (89) were put in adult wards and waiting lists for youth mental health services increased by 8 per cent to 2,818 young people, with 405 young people on a waiting list for services for over a year, up 8% on 2013. The Coalition makes 8 overarching recommendations in the report. It calls for structures to be put in place to allow young people to have a voice in decisions in relation to their care. It also advocates the development of specialist in-patient services for young people with acute mental health difficulties, especially for those with complex needs.
December 2014: Recommendations of Expert Group on Mental Health - 26/03/2015 17:13:00
The Expert Group reviewing the Mental Health Act 2001 made proposals for legislative change which include that the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of mental health be introduced as part of the new law’s Guiding Principles, and that patients should have greater autonomy when it comes to consenting to treatment. It also suggests that the mental health services of people living in the community, residing in hostels or attending day services be subject to mandatory State inspections.
January 2015: Ireland's Healthcare Performance in EU - 23/03/2015 14:59:00
Ireland has slipped eight places to 22nd in the 2014 Euro Health Consumer Index, which measures the performance of healthcare systems in relation to patient and consumer empowerment. Ireland was one of the few states to lose ground. The index opted to use feedback from patient organisations to score Ireland on waiting times because it decided that official data had lost credibility due to persistent patient criticism.
March 2015: Free GP care to under sixes - 20/03/2015 17:13:00
The Government’s commitment to introducing universal healthcare for all is currently falling short of its target for full coverage by 2016. However free GP care to under sixes is being discussed with certain stakeholders a consensus agreement is near completion. (1) The Government has allocated €25million for the scheme this year but there is still strong opposition from GPs to its introduction (2) where a critical mass of 40 per cent sign up from GPs is required. (3) There have been no concrete discussions or specific timelines around widening universal care. (4)
January 2015: Numbers of patients waiting on trolleys - 12/03/2015 16:56:00
The highest figures for patients waiting on trolleys, 563, was reached in January 2015 coming extremely close to the Government commitment to never reach the heights of 569 patients.
- Irish Nurses and Midwives Association 5 January 2015
- Parliamentary Questions on Accident & Emergency Department Waiting Times 14 January 2015
Feb 2015: Mortality rates of male manual workers now 140 per cent greater than professional counterparts during 2000s - 26/02/2015 17:18:00
An ESRI report confirmed that a life expectancy gap has emerged and grown across socio-economic groups where mortality rates of male manual workers are 140 per cent greater than those of their professional counterparts during the 2000s.
Economic & Social Research Institute, Trinity College Dublin & NUI Maynooth, “Socio-Economic Inequalities in Mortality in Ireland Over Time and Place”, 25 February 2015.
- 12.2 Affordability of Health Services and Treatment
April 2014: Support and Opposition to Free GP care for under Sixes - 13/04/2015 12:51:00
The Universal General Practitioner care scheme for children under the age of 6 is to come into effect in July 2015. All children will receive two “wellness” checks, at ages two and five, children with asthma and those with diabetes will receive access to further medical programs. The Irish Medical Organisation has backed the new deal however the National Association of General Practitioners stated that “[t]his deal amounts to nothing more than medical apartheid. It is motivated by election votes rather than real patient need” and is opposing the scheme's introduction. It will be up to each individual GP to decide on whether to participate in it. The government had committed to introducing GP care without fees for the whole population in it's lifetime however the Government's term in office is coming to an end next year.
March 2015: Low Income Earners' Access to and Affordability of Healthcare - 26/03/2015 18:23:00
The 2015 ‘EU Report on the Impact of Austerity on Ireland’ claims that there was a disproportionate effect on those with low incomes who cannot afford private healthcare during the recession. These patients have to wait longer for what can be lifesaving diagnosis and treatment in public hospitals.
- Burke S., ‘Boom to bust: its impact on Irish health policy and health services’ , Irish Journal of
- Public Policy
- Department of Finance, Budget 2014
- 12.3 Travellers and Health
February 2015: Higher Incidence of Tuberculosis in Travellers - 26/03/2015 17:43:00
A study published by Cambridge University Press in February drawing from data gathered over an 11 year period (2002-2013) shows instances of Tuberculosis were at a rate three times higher in the Traveller population than in the white Irish population. The average age of a Traveller TB sufferer was 26 years in comparison to an average age of 49 years for white Irish born sufferers.
- 12.4 Older People and Health
September 2014: Research on Healthcare System during the Recession - 07/04/2015 12:11:00
Trinity research found that there has been a steady decrease in home care hours from over 11 million hours provided in 2006 to less than 9 million hours provided in 2013.
- Burke, S., Steven, T., Barry, S., & Keegan, C. Indicators of health system coverage and activity in Ireland during the economic crisis 2008–2014 – From ‘more with less’ to ‘less with less’. Health Policy. Volume 117, Issue 3, September 2014, Pages 275–278.
- HSE national service plan 2009. HSE, Dublin (2009)
March 2015: Impact of Austerity on Elderly People's Health - 26/03/2015 18:17:00
The 2015 ‘EU Report on the Impact of Austerity on Ireland’ claimed the effect of austerity on healthcare system to have particularly severe impact on the oldest and sickest of people.
UN General Assembly, ‘Report of the independent expert on the question of human rights and extreme poverty, Sepulveda Carmona M.,: Mission to Ireland’, Human Rights Council Seventeenth Session, 17 May 2011
- Social Justice Ireland, ‘Budget 2014: Analysis & Critique’, October 2013
March 2015: HSE analysis of "delayed discharged" patients - 20/03/2015 13:54:00
A recent unpublished HSE report reflected that 709 patients were delayed in being discharged from hospital beds in February this year, of these the majority (86 per cent) we over 65 years old and awaiting nursing home beds. Almost half of these elderly people were waiting for a response from the state assigned body regarding some aspect of their nursing home application. (1)
- Age Action Press Release, HSE report confirms scale of challenge for older patients “trapped” in delayed discharge beds, 3 March 2015
December 2014: Complaints to Health Information and Quality Authority - 12/03/2015 16:53:00
The Health Act 2007 is to be amended following the abuse that emerged from a care home in December 2014 allowing the investigation of unsolicited complaints by the Health Information and Quality Authority regarding care, safety and standards of services. This bill has not yet been enacted.
December 2014: Abuse at Residential home for Persons wit h Intellectual Disabilities - 12/03/2015 16:49:00
An undercover investigation in December 2014 into a residential care home for people with intellectual disabilities, Áras Attracta, revealed serious failures by senior management. The investigation drew attention to numerous abuses of residents including force feeding, slapping, kicking, physical restraint and shouting at residents.
- Prime Time Investigative Report “Inside Bungalow 3”, 9 December 2014
Two highly unsatisfactory reports from inspections carried out by Health Information and Quality Authority in February and May 2014 detail the neglect experienced by residents in the same care home, which included long periods of time without food and some resident presenting as underweight.
A subsequent independent review and investigation of the care home was initiated by the Health Services Executive and the police started an investigation into cases of assault and abuse by health care workers.
Consequently the police are investigating the death of a resident of Áras Attracta in 2012 where dehydration and malnutrition were identified as contributing factors in the man’s death.
- 13.1 Access to Education
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.
Draft Admissions Bill Highlights the Need for National Network of Educate Together Schools, Educate Together, Press Release, 9 April 2015.
- Equal Status Act 2000
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.
ESRI Learning from the Evaluation of DEIS, Smyth, E., McCoy, S., & Kingston, G., Research Series No.39, April 2015.
The 2014 National Assessments of English Reading and Mathematics, Volume 1: Performance Report, Educational Research Institute, 2014.
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.
- Insight into the Lives of Children with Disabilities: Findings from the 2006 National Disability Survey, National Disability Authority & Economic and Social Research Institute, March 2015.
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.
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.
- Walk Report: Accessing Mainstream Training: Barriers for People with Intellectual Disabilities, 2nd March, 2015
- Watson, D. & Nolan, B., A Social Portrait of People with Disabilities in Ireland, ESRI/ Department of Social Protection (Dublin 2011) at pg 20.
- 13.2 Affordability of Education
- 13.3 Non-Discrimination in Education
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.
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.
- 15.1 State resources for culture and the arts and participation
- 15.2 Language Rights
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.
Seán Ó Cuirreáin, First Ever Ombudsman Steps Down Today Because of Government Inaction, Conradh na Gaelige, Press Release 8 April 2015.
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
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
- Akamai’s State of the Internet report. EMEA Highlights (Q3 2014).