Anti-Discrimination Campaign (Face Coverings)

Anti-Discrimination Campaign (Face Coverings)

Statutory Instrument 296 of 2020 stipulates the law around face coverings in shops and other businesses in Ireland – this regulation states that a person may not enter or remain in a shop (or other business) without wearing a face covering unless they have a “reasonable excuse”, with a reasonable excuse including physical or mental illness, impairment, disability or severe distress.

The Equal Status Act regulates private businesses in relation to refusal of service and provides that it is illegal to refuse service to a person on the basis of nine (9) protected grounds, such as race, religion, sexual orientation, age, gender, family status, civic status, membership of the travelling community and disability.

Many of the reasonable excuses listed under S.I. 296 of 2020 amount to a disability under the Equal Status Acts and it may therefore be considered illegal to refuse service to a person unable to wear a face covering due to a disability.

The ICHR has become increasingly concerned regarding the direct and outright discrimination being suffered by members of the public arising from an inability to wear a face covering in shops (or other businesses) and has therefore today commenced its anti-discrimination campaign – which is aimed at fighting back against this wave of discrimination.

The purpose of this campaign will be to select five (5) cases, the Complainants from which will be represented by the ICHR’s Solicitor and Junior Counsel, who after carrying out sufficient diligence on the incident of alleged discrimination, will commence writing to the shop or other business the subject of the alleged discrimination with a view to resolving the incident of alleged discrimination.

Full details of the anti-discrimination campaign will be disclosed to those who are selected as Complainants.

If you wish to apply to join this campaign, please completed the questionnaire set out below.

All responses will be treated with confidentiality in accordance with GDPR and will be considered by the Directors of the ICHR and their legal advisors. 

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Company Directors: Tracey O’ Mahony and Neil O’Mahony.
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