News & Events
Peter McVerry Trust has called on the Department of Justice to immediately engage with the Workplace Relations Commission to clarify its new duties on dealing with discrimination against households in receipt of housing assistance. The charity made their call following comments this morning by the Workplace Relations Commission which said it was unaware of their new responsibilities in relation to the Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015 which introduced “housing assistance” as a new ground to protect against discrimination in accommodation.
Pat Doyle, CEO of Peter McVerry Trust said “The WRC is the responsible body for dealing with these complaints so you’d assume that the Department of Justice would have consulted with it prior to bringing forward the new legislation or at the very least informed it of the additional responsibilities once the legislation was adopted. You would also assume that as part of due process it would have also made sure the WRC had the expertise and resources to deal with the new piece of legislation.”
“This piece of legislation has been in effect since the January 1st. So to find out two months later that the WRC wasn’t aware that it should be publicising its new responsibilities and accepting complaints in this area is very strange indeed. Similarly it is disappointing that the WRC does not now have the resources to enforce or adjudicate on these complaints. The Department of Justice must move immediately to consult with the WRC to ensure the situation is clarified and that the body is resourced appropriately. It also needs to identify how this situation arose and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Mr Doyle said the misunderstanding ultimately impacts on the rights of those who should have been protected by the new legislation. “Unfortunately, it is the households trying to find accommodation with rent supplement or housing assistance payment that have essentially been in vacuum since January 1st. The new anti-discrimination measure on the grounds of housing assistance was something that agencies like Peter McVerry Trust had been calling for years and it was very welcome. To find now that the actual enforcement hasn’t taken effect is bitterly disappointing”