ATD supports an open letter to the Irish Government on ESC Rights

A call for the Government to accept the recommendation of the Constitutional Convention that economic, social and cultural rights be given enhanced protection in the Constitution

ATD with many organisations gathered by the Economic, Social and Cultural (ESC) Rights Initiative  wrote on 26 September 2014 to the Taoiseach and to the Tánaiste.

On 31 March the Constitutional Convention recommended to the Government, by an overwhelming majority of 85%, that ESC rights be given enhanced protection in the Constitution.

The Government was due to respond to the recommendation by the end of July. Disappointingly and in breach of the Conventions’ terms of reference, this response will not be given until the autumn.

The recommendation presents Ireland with a unique opportunity to take a significant step towards fulfilling its international human rights obligations and to ensure that all human rights, civil and political as well as economic, social and cultural, are granted equal protection by the Constitution.

It would also ensure that Ireland keeps pace with the growing international trend towards according constitutional protection to these fundamental human rights.

If further examination of this issue is deemed necessary, for example through the establishment of a working group to consider the implications of constitutional incorporation of these rights and to formulate the appropriate wording for a referendum bill, the ESC Rights Initiative urges that such a process be quickly put in place. Coalition also urges that any such further examination process should:

  • Be open and transparent;
  • Draw on internal analysis of relevant Departments, as well as external expertise, including from civil society organisations;
  • Have clear and public terms of reference;
  • Have an expeditious and defined timeframe for reporting;
  • Be mandated to make public its findings and reasoning.