Thursday, 19 April 2018

We need an Equality Audit in Ireland. A blog to your TD.

FACT. Did you know there are more LGBTQI+  people in Ireland than in any one constituency? That's why you can’t throw a stick or insult without hitting a puff! 


At the same time the Dáil is debating proposed changes to the sex education system in Ireland, our elected officials need to do an equality audit of all the State’s services.



Unless you are Senator Jim Walsh from New Ross, Senator Ronan Mullins or that you think that being gay is a “lifestyle choice”, you’ve got to accept the idea of LGBTQI+ people in your community. This means, in turn, our legislators need to address the needs of LGBTQI+ people. But before I get into that, let’s look at those statistics.  

The most recent statistic we have is from the Irish Times Family Values Poll in March 2015, (before the Marriage Equality Referendum), which puts the LGBT population at 4%. This is the lowest reported statistic that exists in Ireland for LGBT people, but it is still enough to make my point.

Therefore, the population of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people in Ireland is just over 155,000. 

The population from each constituency, according to the latest dataset from the Census office in 2016 is as follows:

Constituency
Population
Largest
Carlow-Kilkenny
151663
4
Cavan-Monaghan
124412
13
Clare
112823
27
Cork East
121429
18
Cork North-Central
124836
12
Cork North-West
89080
36
Cork South-Central
122221
16
Cork South-West
85302
38
Donegal
150657
6
Dublin Bay North
152943
2
Dublin Bay South
121176
19
Dublin Central
96307
29
Dublin Fingal
152086
3
Dublin Mid-West
117976
24
Dublin North-West
96992
28
Dublin Rathdown
94472
30
Dublin South-Central
119469
22
Dublin South-West
150495
7
Dublin West
121897
17
Dún Laoghaire
123546
14
Galway East
93651
31
Galway West
154354
1
Kerry
147707
10
Kildare North
122774
15
Kildare South
91838
33
Laois
92589
32
Limerick City
117048
25
Limerick County
83845
40
Longford-Westmeath
120962
20
Louth
150924
5
Mayo
120082
21
Meath East
91142
34
Meath West
90543
35
Offaly
88808
37
Roscommon - Galway
85022
39
Sligo-Leitrim
119264
23
Tipperary
148706
9
Waterford
116176
26
Wexford
149722
8
Wicklow
146926
11
TOTAL
4761865

Back to the main message of this blog. There are lots of laws, practices, traditions, parts of our Constitution, policies (especially in schools) and work places that are wholly inadequate for the Ireland of the 21st Century.

Whilst some give a nod and a wink towards current legislation – I’m thinking of the anti-bullying policies that schools are suppose to have and publish to show how they are protecting LGBT students (or NOT as the case may be) – others simply don’t care, are 100 years out of date, and, sometimes, people are not given the appropriate training and resources to handle the problem.

One area of concern is the number of young people in emergency accommodation. Now, thankfully at this stage, the whole country and their cat has agreed that we are in the midst of a dreadful homeless crisis. Woowoo for us. But the story of the late-teenager to young adult is one never spoken of. From the foster child that has aged out of the system thrown a few bob to fend for themselves, to the young person couch surfing between friends to the high number of young adults forced from their family home because of their sexuality, at the same time that we are addressing homelessness we need to specifically address the situation of young LGBTQI+ homelessness. And no, unfortunately I do not have any statistics for these numbers (because housing authorities do not collate this information). Check out this interesting read from Focus Ireland explaining the problem.


This neatly segways me to my next point. It is vital that the whole country, all schools, workplaces, local authorities, state agencies and departments urgently carryout an equality audit of their daily activity. They need to start collating, not just how many customers they have, but the specifics of the situation. This will ask more questions than it answers (e.g. if the LGBT population is 4% why is there a much lower percentage of LGBT people accessing your service). This will highlight any discrepancies and then highlight specific problems that need addressing. This will then help the budget holders, officials and elected representatives to better resource these services. Wouldn’t it be great to know how many young people from the ages of 18-25 are homeless and WHY.

That’s just not for my benefit, to help back up my blog with statistics. You see, if we have a full picture of those that are homeless and why, we can better address the problems and hopefully stop homelessness for good. Two changes we know are needed is to create legislation to stop banks evicting people and to provide emergency accommodation that is safe and sheltered for young people (i.e. somewhere that’s neither a normal shelter or hotel where other ADULT homeless people are housed). More knowledge will allow us to make better decisions.


So, here’s where you come in. Can you share this blog to any elected representative you know and urge them to have an equality audit performed in their area of interest. It is vital that we get a full picture of where and what the money is being spent on and if it is being done fairly and equally. I want to live in an Ireland of Equality, do you?

Thanks


John the Captain Ryan

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