January 22, 2020
Public bodies must uphold equality obligations – Sheerin

Sinn Féin MLA Emma Sheerin has said the outcome of investigations into the equality obligations of two public authorities is an important reminder to public authorities that rigorous implementation of Section 75 equality duties is a must.

Speaking after the Equality Commission found that the Department of Infrastructure and Mid and East Antrim Borough Council had failed to comply with their equality obligations, the party’s Equality spokesperson said:

“The Good Friday Agreement, through Section 75 legislation, puts an obligation on all public bodies to fully consider the potential implications of its policies on equality.

“Over 20 years later we still have examples where authorities are not fulfilling their equality obligations.

“There is an onus now for both the Department of Infrastructure and Mid and East Antrim Borough council, in light of the Equality Commission’s findings, to immediately address their failings and review their processes for ensuring policies are equality proofed.

“All public authorities should be aware they have a responsibility in developing policy to actively promote equality.

“The reality is that for many public bodies fulfilling equality obligations is treated as a tick box exercise.

“This needs to change, and public authorities need to fully deliver on their equality obligations.” 

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