n South African Journal on Human Rights - Substantive equality and positive duties in Ireland

Volume 23, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0258-7203



The pursuit of substantive equality through legal strategies has met with significant obstacles in Ireland. Positive duties are one of a number of measures adopted in the pursuit of substantive equality, taking legal strategies beyond the limits of anti-discrimination laws. the reluctance to introduce positive duties to promote equality in Ireland is due largely to the absence of a substantive vision of equality and a growing antipathy towards socio-economic rights. this reluctance has particular implications for women. Over the last decade, the emergence of the so-called 'celtic tiger' economy has brought with it significant tensions concerning the distribution of care responsibilities in the domestic sphere. These tensions highlight deeper conflicts within Ireland's welfare regime and the limits of equality laws in tackling substantive inequality. This article traces these limits, highlighting the growing gap between equality protection in Ireland, North and South, and its detrimental impact on gender equality.

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