Legacy of Mervyn Taylor transformative for women and minorities.

Labour Trade Unionists
23 September 2021

Commenting after the death of Mervyn Taylor, former Labour Party Chairperson, Dublin County Councillor, Dublin South West TD and Minister for Equality and Law Reform, four sections of the Labour Party have paid tribute to his legacy as transformative and having hugely changed the lives of many many people living in Ireland today.

Ellen O’Sullivan, Chairperson Labour Women commented – “Mervyns work in steering through the Divorce Referendum in 1995 transformed the lives of many women who had been placed in limbo and precarious situations after marital breakdown. He also achieved a huge amount for Irish women bringing in legislation on Domestic Violence for the first time. We wholeheartedly agree with Michael D Higgins assessment that his death represents the passing of an icon in the struggle for equality”

Anne Waithira Burke, Chairperson Labour Equality commented – “Mervyn radically transformed the lives of many people from minority backgrounds in Ireland through introducing the equality legislation which outlawed discrimination against people in accessing employment and goods and services. The legislation has been hugely useful to women, migrants, religious minorities and travellers in dismantling discrimination against them and working towards achieving equality. As the first Irish cabinet Minister to be a member of the Jewish faith his political and personal life marked a mature acceptance of plurality in Irish Society”    

James Joy and Catherine Arnold, CoChairs Labour LGBT commented – “Mervyn stood throughout his political life by the side of LGBT people. Indeed in 1993 he noted in the Oireachtas “what could be more important for us as legislators than to create a climate and space where two people who have chosen each other can express their love”. Before Mervyns time in government lesbians, gay men, bi people and trans people could be easily discriminated against and sacked from their jobs. This meant that many LGBT people lived in precarious financial situations; many lived in poverty and many emigrated.  By dismantling these legal rights to discriminate, the equality legislation proposed by Mervyn Taylor radically transformed the lives of LGBT people in Ireland for the better.”

Mick Keegan, Chair of Labour Disability commented – “The work of Mervyn Taylor in 1993 to establish the The Commission on the Status of People with Disabilities was significant and a huge step towards vindicating the human rights of people with disabilities in Ireland. Mervyns political work contributed hugely towards improving the lives of people with disabilities in Ireland”

Concluding, Ellen O’Sullivan, Anne Waithira Burke, James Joy, Catherine Arnold and Mick Keegan said “In the Labour party we are very proud of Mervyns huge transformative legacy in Ireland that changed so many lives for the better. His legacy leaves Ireland a kinder, more equal place. We send our sincere condolences to Mervyns friends and family and the wider Jewish community”

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