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Sinn Féin proposes expanded scope for equality protections

30 June, 2004

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Justice, Equality and Human Rights, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, has tabled amendments to the Equality Bill 2004 to widen the range of categories of people protected against discrimination by the state's equality legislation. Speaking in advance of the Dail debate on 01 July Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

"The effect of these amendments will be to ensure that people in this state can no longer be discriminated against on the basis of their socio-economic status, political opinion, trade union membership or because they have a criminal record. These proposals are in keeping with Equality Authority recommendations that the Minister for Inequality has so far refused to adopt.

"We will also be seeking to amend the definition of 'marital status' to give equal recognition to the rights of unmarried heterosexual or same sex couples.

"In contrast with the Minister I am firmly of the belief that inequality is harmful, deprives society of the full potential contributions of those who face discrimination, and that its eradication will free up significant social resources to the benefit of both the individuals and society as a whole."

"If adopted these amendments could have a real, positive impact particularly on the daily experience of working class people in this state, and represent a major step forward for increasing social inclusion."

Sinn Féin has tabled twenty amendments to the Equality Bill 2004, which give expression to concerns raised by the Equality Authority, the Human Rights Commission, and the Equality Coalition representing more than 60 groups. ENDS

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