People with disabilities among top groups who experience discrimination in Ireland
2017-11-15 15:30:00 -

Nearly one in every eight people in Ireland report that they have experienced discrimination in recent years.


That’s according to a new study drawing from a CSO survey of 15,000 adults nationwide, which has found that discrimination is acutely felt among minority groups in the country.


Published jointly by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) and the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), the new report ‘Who experiences discrimination in Ireland?’ examines people’s experiences of discrimination at work, in recruitment and in accessing public and private services.


Among the key findings was that people with disabilities are more than twice as likely as those without to experience discrimination in all areas.


Compared to white Irish respondents, black respondents were three times more likely to experience discrimination in the workplace and in access to public services, and over four times more likely to face discrimination in shops, restaurants and other private services. 


Irish Travellers, meanwhile, are almost 10 times more likely than their settled white Irish counterparts to experience discrimination in seeking work, and over 22 times more likely in accessing private services.


In general, women are almost twice as likely as men to experience discrimination at work, with issues of pay and promotion frequently raised, though there are no gender differences in other areas.

Change over time

Experiences of discrimination have changed through the 2000s economic boom, the recession since 2008 and recovery in more recent years, the report indicates.


Discrimination experienced by those seeking work has risen significantly from 5.8 percent in 2004 and 5.9 percent in 2010 to 7.4 in 2014.


While there has been an overall reduction of discrimination experienced in accessing private services, persons with disabilities reported a much higher experience of workplace discrimination compared to those without.


“Access to and use of good quality data and empirical research are of crucial importance in identifying the barriers to the full enjoyment of human rights and equality that persist in our society, as well as the people whom these barriers most affect,” said IHREC chief commissioner Emily Logan.


Frances McGinnity of the ESRI, lead author of the report, added: “Discrimination can be damaging to the individuals who experience it, in terms of their self-esteem, well-being and for their material outcomes such as their income and access to valued positions and services.


“There are also costs at a societal level. Discrimination in the labour market may be economically inefficient, as the skills of individuals are not effectively used. Discrimination can also undermine social cohesion. Monitoring and tackling discrimination is therefore an important issue for Irish society.”



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