More than 40% of queries about equality issues received by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) last year were linked to disability discrimination, according to its annual report.
The body said that its 'Your Rights' service handled 1,411 public queries about human-rights and equality issues in 2022.
While 42% of concerns about equal-status legislation related to disability issues, 16% were linked to race, and 8% each to gender and age.
According to the report, the top public concerns about employment equality focused on discrimination in employment and job-seeking on the grounds of disability (39%), gender (16%), race (12%) and age (12%).
Just over one-fifth of human-rights queries related to asylum and immigration, while 16% were linked to homelessness and housing, and 12% to health and bodily integrity.
Codes of practice
The annual report details the commission’s activity in 2022 – including its interventions as amicus curiae (friend of the court) in a range of cases focused on issues such as Traveller accommodation, the right to a fair trial, redress for sexual abuse in day schools, disability rights and citizenship.
It also prepared two codes of practice – one on equal pay, one on sexual harassment and harassment at work – that were launched during the year.
IHREC also published its first Evaluation of the Implementation of the EU Anti-Trafficking Directive Report on the State’s actions to combat human trafficking.
Speaking as the report was launched, Sinéad Gibney (Chief Commissioner) described the movement of Ukrainian refugees during 2022 as a challenge for all European countries, adding that Ireland was no exception.
“Despite our warnings, the emergence of a two-tier asylum system played out in front of our eyes – with Ukraine refugees experiencing a markedly different set of conditions to those in the wider international protection system,” she stated.
“The accommodation system for those arriving to seek international protection was already a system under strain, and now it is broken,” Gibney said, adding that IHREC remained “deeply concerned” about the conditions in which many international-protection applicants were living.
She called on the Government to prioritise investment in a permanent system of accommodation for people claiming asylum in Ireland.