Members of a panel, established to select the persons to be recommended to the Oireachtas and the President for appointment to the new Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission have been announced.
The members include: the Ombudsman, Emily O Reilly (chair); Dr Mary Keys, National University of Ireland Galway and member of Mental Health Commission; Sylda Langford, Chair of Citizens Information Board; Professor Gerard Quinn, National University of Ireland Galway; and Professor Gerard Whyte, Trinity College Dublin.
The panel will invite applications from persons interested in serving on the new Commission, run a selection process and make a recommendation to the Government on a number of candidates for appointment by the President in due course. It is anticipated that applications will be invited in early September.
The Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality, to which the General Scheme of a Bill to amalgamate the Human Rights Commission and the Equality Authority was referred, has requested that the panel should be gender balanced, members should have a proven track record and expertise in areas relevant to the work of the Commission and a member of the panel should be excluded from being a member of the Commission.
The Committee is to meet with the members of the panel in September.
Speaking on the appointment of the panel, Minister for Justice and Equality, Alan shatter TD said “selecting the members of the new Commission in this way is a new departure for us in this state”.
The Minister also noted how the new Commission will seek accreditation with the UN as Ireland’s National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) which is “of crucial importance to ensure that the new body achieves the highest international standing and domestic credibility to its independence and remit”. The new Commission will also comply “unequivocally” with the ‘Paris Principles’ the Minister stressed.