Cutting back on equality
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This chapter reviews the Equality Authority's (EA) operations in the decade between its establishment in 1999 and the 2008 crisis, summarising its work in assisting complainants, conducting research and communicating with the public. It explains why the Authority was attacked, by examining three questions in more detail. The questions examined are how the Authority's legal work triggered a backlash from powerful sectors of Irish society and how its cases against the state challenged the status of politicians and public officials. The other question examined is how the Authority's plans to conduct inquiries may have threatened other powerful interests. The Equality Acts and the EA's role within them fall within a liberal egalitarian perspective, as they focus on equal opportunity and the toleration of differences. The chapter concludes by arguing that the EA and the Equality Acts are primarily based on liberal egalitarianism rather than equality of condition.

Defining events

Power, resistance and identity in twenty-first-century Ireland

Editors: Rosie Meade and Fiona Dukelow


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