Minister Halligan should consider his position
Speaking ahead of the debate this evening in the Dáil on the Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017, Labour spokesperson on Justice, Seán Sherlock TD, has called on Minister John Halligan to consider his position following the findings of the WRC regarding his conduct in an interview.
Deputy Sherlock said:
“This evening the Dáil is debating a bill that would amend the Employment Equality Act 1998. That Act provides nine specified grounds upon which it is against the law to discriminate against a person.
“Those nine grounds are on the basis of gender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religious belief, age, disability, race or a member of the Traveller community.
“Today it has been revealed that a Minister of State of this Government has been found by the Workplace Relations Commission to have discriminated against a woman under this very Act when he asked – and caveated it with the remarks – ‘I shouldn’t be asking you this, but… Are you a married woman, do you have children, how old are your children’.
“Minister Halligan’s Department has now been ordered to pay €7,500 in compensation.
“At a minimum, the Minister should pay this himself rather than have his Department do it. The same Minister serves in the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation which is responsible for the WRC.
“Frankly for a politician who considers himself of the left and a champion of equality it is an outrageous abuse of position that he would ask anyone, never mind a senior civil servant, such a question.
“For a Minister of State to discriminate on the basis of civil status, family, and gender is unacceptable.
“This is a very serious matter. The Minister broke the law. The Minister discriminated against a civil servant.
“He should do the decent thing now and consider his position.”