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Question

471. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the penalties applying to the refusal of an establishment to allow entry to a customer or to ask a customer to leave on the basis of a mother breast-feeding; and his plans to update legislation in this regard. [24444/18]

Answer

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): Ireland has comprehensive and robust equality legislation in place – namely the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2015 and the Equal Status Acts 2000-2015 – which prohibits discrimination on ten specific grounds, including on gender and family status.
As the Deputy will be aware, the legislation is designed to promote equality and prohibit discrimination and victimisation and it also allows for positive measures to ensure equality across the ten grounds. The Equal Status Acts 2000-2015 outlaw discrimination in the provision of goods and services. Equality legislation also provides for remedies for those who have suffered discrimination.
Mothers who wish to breast feed in public are protected from being discriminated or harassed under the equality legislation. Under section 21 of the Equal Status Acts 2000-2015, a person may seek redress for discrimination by referring the case to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) or to the Circuit Court. Section 27 of the Equal Status Act sets out the types of redress which the WRC or the Circuit Court may decide – and includes an order for compensation up to the maximum amount that can be ordered by the District Court in civil cases (€15,000).
In addition, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is responsible for reviewing the effectiveness of human rights and equality law. IHREC can advise people and refer perceived cases of discrimination to the WRC for investigation and adjudication.