Congress - Government Cuts Forced Equality Chief from Office

12 Dec 2008

Congress today (December 12) said the government's cynical targeting of the Equality Authority for budgetary cuts had succeeded only in forcing the authority's chief executive from office and damaging the country's nascent equality infrastructure.

This follows the resignation yesterday of Equality Authority chief Niall Crowley following government's refusal to consider some row back on the huge 43 percent budgetary cut imposed on the authority, the highest demanded of any state body.

Mr Crowley resigned yesterday, saying the cuts had made his position untenable.

Congress official David Joyce, a member of the Authority's board, said the government was guilty of "cynically targeting the Authority because it had proved itself to be doing too good a job. There may be a case for cutbacks or reviews where an organisation consistently underperforms. The Equality Authority's problem was that it carried out its brief and stuck to its remit too well. Its findings and actions often made senior figures uncomfortable.

"They responded with cuts that have now driven a very dedicated and deeply committed individual from office. Mr Crowley will be a great loss. It is sad that someone of his calibre has been forced into this action by the actions of this government. In the long term, this will do real damage to equality infrastructure and is a setback to the development of an 'equality culture' in Ireland.

"We also believe that the cuts will make it well-nigh impossible for the Authority to continue to fully carry out its proper role."

Mr Joyce confirmed that he would be considering his position on the Board, ahead of the next meeting.