The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has criticised plans to reopen indoor dining in pubs and restaurants to vaccinated people only.
In a statement, the organisation said that equality could not be “abandoned” during emergencies.
“Rather than creating another division as we reopen society, Government should be concentrating efforts on getting the vaccine to everyone who needs it,” ICCL Executive Director Liam Herrick said.
The Government yesterday (29 June) decided not to go ahead with plans for a wider reopening of the indoor hospitality sector, scheduled for 5 July. No new date was set.
This followed advice from NPHET that recommended limiting indoor drinking and dining to those who had been vaccinated, or those who had recovered from COVID-19.
‘Robust system of verification’
The public-health group said that plans to reopen should be delayed until "a robust, non-reproducible and enforceable system of verification of vaccination or immunity status can be put in place to support this".
A meeting was due to take place today (30 June) between ministers and representatives of the hospitality sector to discuss how such a system could work.
The ICCL said that Taoiseach Mícheál Martin (pictured) had previously ruled out the idea of domestic vaccine passports.
Human-rights impact assessment
“To reverse its own position so drastically, Government would have to conduct a full human-rights impact assessment of any such system and determine the impact it would have on rights, such as privacy, data protection, bodily autonomy, movement and equality,” the group said.
The ICCL argued that any new system based on vaccination would introduce discrimination in access to goods, services, and potentially employment, while there were also “significant” privacy and data-protection concerns.
Last week the Data Protection Commission said there was “no clear legal basis” for employers to ask for the vaccination status of their staff.