New clause 5 - Equality Duty

Part of Justice (Northern Ireland) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 9:30 am ar 14 Chwefror 2002.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Mr Seamus Mallon Mr Seamus Mallon Social Democratic and Labour Party, Newry and Armagh 9:30, 14 Chwefror 2002

I spoke privately to the Minister about that before we came to the Committee, because it was one of the issues that worried me. I am still not clear about it, and I would welcome advice.

Section 75 applies to policies and procedures alone, and I cannot see how the DPP or his office could make a convincing case that their policies and procedures should not be equality-proofed. I was at pains to say that the provision would not apply to individual cases brought by the DPP. However, if what we do and what we have already done in many instances in the north of Ireland is to be consistent, the policies and procedures of the DPP's office and of the other offices in the new clause must comply with the equality duty in section 75.

I asked the Minister privately whether there were technical or arcane legal reasons why section 75 should not apply, and I should like to hear about any such reasons. It would contribute much to the public's perception of the agencies if they came within the remit of section 75.