[Sinn Fein]

8 December 2000

Irish Government approach has potential to undermine Human Rights Commission, says de Brún

Speaking in Dublin, Sinn Fein Assembly member Bairbre de Brún said that the decision of the Irish Government to ignore the recommendations of its own selection panel to the new Human Rights Commission ``has the potential to undermine the work of the body before it has even got started''.

Ms de Brún said:

``The Irish Government have only ratified one of eight people its own panel proposed for membership of the Human Rights Commission. This risks undermining the broad role which was envisaged for the Human Rights Commission. The process of public advertisement and selection might as well never have happened.

``The Human Rights Commission is a direct result of the Good Friday Agreement. Its importance cannot be understated and the fundamental role envisaged for the Commission across a whole range of human rights areas on the island is now being put at risk.

``The approach of the Irish Government to this key commitment under the terms of the Agreement has been hugely disappointing. Already the Commission is running over a year behind schedule and there is now a real fear that the broad range of opinions and experience necessary for the Commission to fulfil its remit will not be achieved by the current approach being adopted by the Irish Government.'' ENDS

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