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15.01 9 Nov 2017


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Almost one-in-eight people in Ireland say they have experienced discrimination in the last two years.

The findings have been published from a study by the ESRI and Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.

It draws on a nationally representative survey taken from CSO data from 15,000 adults.

It found discrimination is felt acutely among specific groups, such as people with disabilities.

Disabled people are more than twice as likely as those without a disability to experience discrimination in all areas - like work, recruitment and in accessing public and private services.

Compared to white Irish respondents, black respondents are three times more likely to experience discrimination in the workplace and in access to public services.

And they are over four times more likely to experience discrimination in access to private services.

 
Rates of overall, work and services-related discrimination (2014) | Source: ESRI

The findings also show white non-Irish do not differ from white Irish people in discrimination in any domain - the workplace, seeking work or in relation to public services.

Irish travellers are almost 10 times more likely than the white Irish group to experience discrimination in seeking work, and over 22 times more likely to experience discrimination in access to private services.

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.

Rates of discrimination in each individual service (2014) | Source: ESRI

The 45-64-year-old group is more likely to experience discrimination seeking work than younger workers - but in private services older adults, especially those over-65, are much less likely to see discrimination.

Lone parents who are not married are more likely to experience discrimination in public and private services than single, childless adults.

Boom-Bust discrimination

The study found experiences of discrimination have changed through economic boom, recession and early recovery.

It compared the latest 2014 data to those from identical surveys conducted in 2004 and 2010 - and found that while overall reported discrimination has been stable, there have been some diverging trends.

These include discrimination experienced by people seeking work, which has risen from 5.8% in 2004 to 7.4% in 2014.

Discrimination in relation to the provision of private services has decreased from 6.8% in 2004 to 4.7% in 2014.

And the biggest fall was in experience of financial institutions, though there was no fall in housing discrimination.

Emily Logan, chief commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, said: "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.

"The Irish Human rights and Equality Commission’s core statutory role is to promote and protect human rights and equality in Ireland.

"As such, it is a strategic priority of the commission, working with specialists such as the ESRI, to make a contribution to the knowledge base necessary for better understanding, and therefore challenging gaps in human rights and equality protection".

Lead author of the report, the ESRI's Frances McGinnity 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."

Read the report in full here


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