Rape and Domestic Violence: The law criminalizes rape, including spousal rape, and does not make a distinction between men and women. The government enforced the law. Most convicted persons received prison sentences of five to 12 years. The law also criminalizes domestic violence. It authorizes prosecution of a violent family member and provides victims with “safety orders,” which prohibit the offender from engaging in violent actions or threats, and “barring orders” (restraining orders), which prohibit an offender from entering the family home for up to three years. Anyone found guilty of violating a barring or an interim protection order may receive a fine, a prison sentence of up to 12 months, or both.
Sexual Harassment: The law obliges employers to prevent sexual harassment of both men and women and prohibits employers from dismissing an employee for making a complaint of sexual harassment. Authorities effectively enforced the law when they received reports of sexual harassment. The penalties can include an order requiring equal treatment in the future, as well as compensation for the victim up to a maximum of two years’ pay or 40,000 euros ($46,000).
Reproductive Rights: There were no reports of coerced abortion or involuntary sterilization on the part of government authorities. There were no reports of vulnerable populations experiencing difficulties accessing medical treatment affecting reproductive health. Capable adults must consent to all medical treatments, including those that arise from vulnerable populations. The government provides access to sexual and reproductive health services, including the provision of contraception and abortion, for survivors of sexual violence. The Cervical Check Tribunal was set up in 2018 to adjudicate claims linked to misinterpretation of cervical cancer screenings.
Discrimination: The law provides that women and men have the same legal status and rights, including under family, religious, personal status, and nationality laws as well as laws related to labor, property, inheritance, employment, access to credit, and owning or managing business or property. The government enforced the law effectively, although inequalities in pay and promotions persisted in both the public and private sectors (see section 7.d.). Travellers (a traditionally itinerant minority ethnic group), Roma, and migrant women have low levels of participation in political and public life.
Systemic Racial or Ethnic Violence and Discrimination
The Equal Status Acts 2000-2018 prohibit discrimination in the provision of goods and services, accommodation, and education on grounds of gender, marital status, family status, age, disability, sexual orientation, race, religion, or membership in the Traveler community. The government enforced the law effectively.
Societal discrimination and violence against immigrants and racial, ethnic, and religious minorities remained a problem. The country’s African population and Muslim community in particular experienced racially and religiously motivated physical violence, intimidation, graffiti, and verbal slurs. In late March an Asian woman reported being assaulted by a group of approximately a dozen male teenagers, who hit her and swung a bag of garbage into her while using racial slurs. She said police were hesitant to ascribe a racial motive to the attack when she reported it, and she was unsatisfied with the level of effort of the investigators to identify the perpetrators.
The law obliges local officials to develop suitable accommodation sites for Travellers and to solicit input from the Travellers. According to the Human Rights and Equality Commission, Travellers were 22 times more likely than other respondents to report discrimination in access to housing. The Traveller community reported higher than average levels of homelessness and unemployment, and poor access to health care and educational services.
In 2019, the most recent report available, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Social Rights noted improvements but determined that the country’s law and practice violated the human rights of Travellers on the following grounds: inadequate conditions at many Traveller sites; insufficient provision of accommodation for Travellers; inadequate legal safeguards for Travellers threatened with eviction; and evictions carried out without necessary safeguards. In 2018 the government convened a Traveller Accommodation Expert Group to conduct a review of Traveller housing support. The group published its findings in 2019 and identified gaps between the government’s plans and its implementation. A Program Board was established in 2021 to oversee implementation of recommendations and present regular progress reports, with the most recent report in June.
In April the IPRT published a report on the rights of foreign national and minority ethnic groups in the country’s penal system. The report found that foreign nationals may receive longer sentences than local citizens for controlled drug offenses and sexual offenses; foreign nationals and minority ethnic persons in prison faced significant challenges that had the effect of limiting trust with any part of the penal system.
Birth Registration: A person born after 2004 on the island of Ireland (including Northern Ireland) is automatically a citizen if one parent was an Irish citizen, a British citizen, a resident of either Ireland or Northern Ireland entitled to reside in either without time limit, or a legal resident of Ireland or Northern Ireland for three of the four years preceding the child’s birth (excluding time spent as a student or an asylum seeker). Authorities register births immediately.
A birth can be registered at any local registration office in the State. The duty to complete the registration of the birth falls to a Qualified Informant (QI), and if applicable, registration of the birth allows the child to receive his or her Personal Public Service (PPS) number. A PPS number is a unique reference that helps a person access social welfare benefits, public services, and other official information.
Child Abuse: The law criminalizes physical and psychological abuse and engaging in, or attempting to engage in, a sexual act with juveniles. For victims ages 15 to 16 the maximum sentence is five years in prison, which can increase to 10 years if the accused is a person in authority, such as a parent or teacher. For victims younger than age 15, the maximum sentence is life imprisonment. Tusla, the government’s child and family agency, provided child protection, early intervention, and family support services. The government also provided funding to NGOs that carried out information campaigns against child abuse as well as those who provided support services to victims.
Child, Early, and Forced Marriage: The legal minimum age for marriage is 18, including for citizens who marry abroad. Forced marriage is illegal and is punishable by a fine, up to seven years’ imprisonment, or both.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: The law prohibits the commercial sexual exploitation of children, sale, grooming, or using children for commercial exploitation, including sex trafficking. The law prohibits child pornography, and authorities enforced the law. Trafficking of children and taking a child from home for sexual exploitation carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. A person convicted of meeting a child for the purpose of sexual exploitation faces a maximum penalty of 14 years’ imprisonment. The law includes offenses relating to child sexual grooming and child pornography. The minimum age for consensual sex is 17. Authorities enforced the law.
The law provides for a fine, a prison sentence of up to 14 years, or both for a person convicted of allowing a child to be used for pornography. For producing, distributing, printing, or publishing child pornography, the maximum penalty is a fine, 12 months’ imprisonment, or both.
In 2021, some gaps in trafficking victim identification remained, and like 2020, the government did not identify any child trafficking victims. The media reported that the national rapporteur, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, highlighted the lack of identified children could also be a result of insufficient expertise among social workers regarding the identification of child trafficking victims.
According to the 2016 census, the Jewish community numbered approximately 2,600 persons. There were no reports of antisemitic violence or vandalism. There were sporadic reports of high-profile members of the Jewish community being harassed on social media. Alan Shatter, former Minister for Justice, was targeted on Twitter due to his outspoken views on Israel and his Jewish heritage. Authorities enforced the law when violations were reported.
Trafficking in Persons
See the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at https://www.state.gov/trafficking-in-persons-report/.
Acts of Violence, Criminalization, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity or Expression, or Sex Characteristics
Criminalization: Same-sex conduct is not criminalized.
Violence against LGBTQI+ Persons: There were reports of violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) persons, including the April murder of two men in Sligo that police believe had a homophobic motivation. The government enforced the law when violations were reported.
Discrimination: The law prohibits discrimination in employment, goods, services, and education by state and nonstate actors based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics, and recognizes LGBTQI+ individuals, couples, and their families. The law does not include gender identity as an explicit category, but the courts have interpreted the law as prohibiting discrimination against transgender persons. The government enforced the law when violations were reported.
Availability of Legal Gender Recognition: Since September 2015, persons over 18 can update their legal gender markers through a simple administrative process of self-determination.
Involuntary or Coercive Medical or Psychological Practices Specifically Targeting LGBTQI+ Individuals:The LGBTI+ National Youth Strategy 2018-2020 provides for the prohibition of “the promotion or practice of conversion therapy by health professionals in Ireland” and the National LGBTI+ Inclusion Strategy 2019-2022 commits to ensuring that the practice of so-called conversion therapy in the country is investigated and followed up with appropriate counter measures.
Restrictions of Freedom of Expression, Association, or Peaceful Assembly: There were no restrictions of freedom of expression, association, or peaceful assembly.
Persons with Disabilities
The law requires that persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, or mental disabilities be able to access education, health services, public buildings, and transportation on an equal basis with others. Government information and communication on disability issues must be provided in accessible formats. The government effectively enforced these provisions and implemented programs to ensure that persons with disabilities had full access to education, health services, transportation, buildings, information, and communications. Persons with disabilities faced some discrimination in employment and occupation (see section 7.d.)