Dáil Éireann - Volume 504 - 05 May, 1999

Written Answers. - UN Covenants.

119. Mrs. T. Ahearn asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the ministerial representation which will be present at the committee meeting in Geneva on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights at which Ireland's first report will be discussed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11644/99]

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Andrews): Ireland ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on 8 December 1989. This Covenant recognises, inter alia, the right to work and to free choice of employment, to fair wages, to form and join trade unions, to social security, to an adequate standard of living, to the highest attainable standard of health, to an education and the right to take part in cultural life.

Under Articles 16 and 17 of the covenant, all states' parties are required to present periodic reports to the UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. In these reports, states parties are asked to set out in detail the [345] measures which they have adopted and the progress made in implementing the provisions of the covenant. Ireland's first report under the covenant was submitted on 30 October 1996 and it is currently being examined by this UN committee in Geneva 4-5 May 1999.

Ireland's delegation is being led, on this occasion, by Mr Bernard McDonagh, Second Secretary at the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. Mr. McDonagh heads the equality, courts and immigration and asylum divisions of his Department and issues within the remit of those divisions will feature prominently at the examination. The substance of this report covers a very broad range of issues involving primarily the Departments of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Health, Education and Social, Community and Family Affairs and those Departments will be represented at the examination. The Department of Foreign Affairs will also be present, in a co-ordinating role.