Human rights commission publishes new national poll on human rights in Ireland

Emily Logan

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission has published the findings of a new poll on human rights and equality to mark International Human Rights Day 2018.

The Amárach Research poll findings from a survey of over 1,200 people in Ireland found overwhelming agreement (84 per cent) that stronger protections for human rights and equality makes the country a better place to live.

People overwhelmingly (86 per cent) agree that they care deeply about making Ireland a fairer place to live.

The key findings of the poll are:

  • More to do on human rights and equality: 85 per cent of people believe we still have significant work to do in Ireland to protect human rights and equality – this figure is up 6 per cent from a similar poll carried out in 2015.
  • Housing: 82 per cent of people generally, and 89 per cent of 18-24-year olds believe that housing should be considered as a human right. 63 per cent of people generally, and 78 per cent of 18-24-year olds believe that a right to housing should be entered into Ireland’s Constitution.
  • Minority rights: People consider that Members of the Traveller Community are most likely to have their human rights infringed or to experience discrimination in Ireland, with 29 per cent of people identifying Travellers as the most at risk group.
  • Disabilities: People ranked job hunting (74 per cent) as the area when people with disabilities are most likely to encounter discrimination, over accessing public transport (66 per cent) or in work (59 per cent).
  • Equality of opportunity: Opinion is sharply divided on a person’s ability to achieve their potential in our society with 36 per cent believing that potential is limited by prejudice, discrimination or neglect compared to 37 per cent who believe that it is not.
  • International leadership: Just under a quarter of people (23 per cent) feel that Ireland is an international leader when it comes to human rights and equality.

Emily Logan, chief commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, said: “People across Ireland care deeply about making Ireland a fairer place to live and in strengthening protections for human rights and equality, but are equally clear that there’s still much more work to do in this area.

“People are increasingly looking at issues such as housing through a prism of human rights, and in particular young people under 25 are looking at housing and accommodation as an area where a rights-based approach should be taken by the State.

“At a time where we have seen a worrying trend of countries in Europe and further afield succumb to the incipient rise of populism, unilateralism, racism and an increasingly narrow and inward-looking vision of statehood, sovereignty and national belonging, this survey shows a strength of public support across Ireland for human rights and equality and a determination to make positive progress.”