Strategy contains over 100 actions that promote inclusion, protect rights and improve the quality of life and wellbeing of LGBTI+ people
Funding of almost €1m available to support equality and LGBTI+ initiatives
Strategy underpinned by nationwide public consultations
The Minister for Justice and Equality, Mr. Charlie Flanagan, TD and the Minister of State with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration, Mr David Stanton, TD, today launched Ireland’s National LGBTI+ Inclusion Strategy 2019 – 2021.
The Strategy contains over 100 actions that are aimed at promoting inclusion, protecting rights and improving the quality of life and wellbeing of LGBTI+ people. It reflects the commitment in the Programme for Government to create an equal, fair and inclusive society for all, target discrimination and enable LGBTI+ people to overcome the barriers they face.
Minister Flanagan secured additional funding of €700,000 in the Justice and Equality budgetary allocation for 2020, to support equality and LGBTI+ initiatives, bringing the total funding available to over €900,000.
Speaking at the launch, Minister Flanagan said:
When my Department began the process of developing this Strategy, my overriding priority was that it must speak to the Irish society of today. This is a National Strategy because it speaks to Ireland – to the society we are, and the society we aspire to be. It is of the utmost importance that the Strategy clearly responds to key issues facing the LGBTI+ community.
I want to set an ambitious vision for Ireland, where the end goal is full equality for LGBTI+ people. The aim is for Ireland to be a place where everyone, regardless of their sexuality, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics, can reach their full potential to live healthy, safe and fulfilling lives and participate fully in Ireland's social, economic, cultural, and political life.
To support the development of the Strategy, a series of thematic public consultations took place nationwide from November 2018 to February 2019. These consultations took the form of dynamic and interactive workshops facilitated by key LGBTI+ experts and researchers including Dr Gráinne Healy, Ms Denise Charlton and Dr Kathy Walsh, in partnership with LGBT Ireland. Sessions took place in Cork, Dublin, Dundalk, Galway and Limerick. Over 30 written submissions were also received.
Minister Stanton played a key role in the public consultation phase, and paid tribute to the commitment, hard work and efforts of everyone who contributed to the development of the Strategy.
Speaking at the launch, Minister Stanton said:
We have worked closely with the LGBTI+ community to identify the barriers to full participation in Irish society that remain, and it is clear that we have more work to do. This Government is committed to making Ireland a country in which everyone can safely live, work and enjoy their lives without barriers, discrimination and intolerance. Most importantly, our focus must now turn to implementation, the Strategy’s success will depend on the shared engagement of all stakeholders in building a fairer society that allows everyone to flourish.
The Strategy can be viewed on the Department of Justice and Equality website at this link: http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/Launch_of_the_LGBTI_Inclusion_Strategy_2019-2021
Notes for Editors:
Ireland has come a long way in advancing equality for LGBTI+ citizens over the last number of years. The passage of Marriage Equality and Gender Recognition legislation were key milestones in 2015, followed by the apology to the lesbian and gay community by the Irish Government on the 25th anniversary of decriminalisation last year.
The new Strategy aims to consolidate this progress and continue to create an Ireland where LGBTI+ people can enjoy full equality, participate fully in society, and enjoy a quality of life on a par with the rest of the population. This vision aligns with the overall vision of the Department of Justice and Equality for a safe, fair and inclusive Ireland.
In recent years the Department of Justice and Equality has developed and implemented a suite of strategies aimed at the realisation of an equal and inclusive society. These are:
- National Strategy for Women and Girls
- Migrant Integration Strategy
- National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy
- National Disability Inclusion Strategy
The LGBTI+ Strategy will be the fifth policy response to drive forward the Equality agenda in Ireland.
The Strategy also dovetails with and complements the aims of the National LGBTI+ Youth Strategy that was launched by Minister Zappone in 2018.
The Strategy was prepared by the Department of Justice and Equality and advised by a Strategy Committee. The membership of the Strategy Committee included government departments, key public bodies, the social partners and civil society. The development of the Strategy was also informed by a public consultation process conducted between November 2018 and February 2019, which invited contributions in writing and in person at a series of public meetings held in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Dundalk and Limerick.
A wide range of themes was explored at these meetings, including crime and personal safety, rural isolation, health and wellbeing, arts, culture and community, sport and workplace inclusion. There were sessions with the volunteers of the LGBT Ireland helpline volunteers, service providers and board members. In addition, specific workshop sessions were organised for the Intersex Community, Travellers, Asylum Seekers, Migrants and Refugees and the Deaf Community to ensure that the voices of the more marginalised members of the LGBTI+ community were adequately heard. In addition, 32 written submissions were received.
Implementation of the Strategy will be overseen by a monitoring committee that will be chaired by the Minister of State with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration, Mr David Stanton, TD. This committee will have a pivotal role in implementation. Its membership will be drawn from government departments, key public bodies, NGOs, particularly those representing LGBTI+ persons, and representatives of employers and employees.
One of the key features of the Strategy is cross-departmental implementation, which will require action by the responsible departments. The committee’s work will include reviewing implementation of all actions and agreeing key indicators for monitoring progress towards the fulfilment of the outcomes. As the Strategy will be a ‘living document’, influenced by its context and evolving as circumstances change over the period to 2021, the committee will also have the task of assessing whether or not further action is required on specific issues, and making recommendations on actions to be added or changed to respond to emerging priorities.
The Strategy is made up of four Thematic Pillars; Visible and Included, Treated Equally, Healthy and Safe and Supported.
In the first year of the Strategy, by the end of 2020, some of the actions delivered will be;
Visible and included;
Identify key large-scale events each year to promote LGBTI+ visibility (Action 1.2).
Explore opportunities for the appropriate inclusion of LGBTI+ lives in the curriculum as part of curriculum review at both primary and senior-cycle levels and Include LGBTI+ matters in the Relationship and Sexual Education curriculum review (Actions 1.5 and 1.6).
Develop a Civil and Public Service wide LGBT+ Employee and Ally Network (Action 2.4).
Utilise the Corporate Social Responsibility Stakeholder Forum to advance LGBTI+ workplace inclusion amongst private sector employers, and to raise awareness of the National LGBTI+ Inclusion Strategy through the available Corporate Social Responsibility channels (Action 2.5).
Commence outstanding sections of Adoption (Amendment) Act 2017 relating to donor-conceived children (Action 11.3).
Make a report to each House of the Oireachtas of the findings on the review of the Gender Recognition Act 2015 and of the conclusions drawn from the findings (Action 12.1)
Design and implement programmes and measures to address intersectional discrimination in partnership with NGOs and target communities (Action 13.1).
Ensure that the rights and diversity of LGBTI+ service users are respected and promoted as part of the National Quality Standards Framework for homeless services (Action 13.2).
Fund the HPV vaccine rollout plan in line with NIAC policy, including funding for vaccine nurses in 2019 and 2020 (Action 16.1).
Deliver targeted outreach sexual health programmes and campaigns to at risk groups (Action 17.1).
Develop a seamless and integrated service for those people who present to the Irish health service with gender identity issues through the time limited Gender Identity Steering Committee. Chaired by the Clinical Lead in Mental Health, the Steering Committee has defined terms of reference, a time frame within which it will operate and clear reporting relationships, and its membership includes experts in the area, representatives from paediatric services, adult services (both endocrinology and psychiatry), advocacy groups and service users (Action 19.3).
Safe and Supported
Bring forward legislative proposals to ensure that incitement to hatred and hate crimes against LGBTI+ people are adequately addressed in our laws (Action 21.1).
Incorporate LGBTI+ focused considerations in the implementation of the Second National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence (Action 22.3)
Continue to integrate the promotion and protection of the rights of LGBTI+ individuals into Ireland’s foreign policy (Action 25.1).