Civil liberties group welcomes ‘ambitious and positive’ government deal
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has welcomed “ambitious and positive” commitments in the draft Programme for Government agreed by Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party.
The civil liberties group said there were strong commitments in relation to 10 of the 18 calls for human rights reform which it submitted to the three negotiating parties in early May.
In particular, ICCL welcomed the commitment to phase out the system of Direct Provision and to introduce new hate crime legislation, especially considering “the context of the international conversation on racism”.
It also welcomed commitments to establish an Electoral Commission; to reform An Garda Síochána as envisioned by the Commission on the Future of Policing; to create an independent inspection system for all places of detention; to establish safe zones for access to abortion; to hold a referendum on the right to housing; to decriminalise drugs for personal use; to outlaw image-based sexual abuse; and to introduce strong protections against facial recognition technology.
ICCL said other positive commitments include a commitment to examine new protections for people discriminated against because of their socio-economic status and a commitment to amend the law on discrimination based on gender identity; ensuring that local authorities draw down all funding available for Traveller accommodation; and abolishing wardships.
However, the group also expressed disappointment that the parties did not commit to an end to the “illegal and discriminatory” Public Services Card (PSC) scheme, a Citizen’s Assembly on Brexit, the full implementation of EU fair trial standards in the Irish justice system and the establishment of an Ombudsman for Victims of Crime.
Liam Herrick, ICCL executive director, said: “This is a very ambitious and positive programme for government. ICCL will be using these commitments to hold the new government to account and to continue to advocate for human rights for every person in Ireland.”