The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission was formally established in 1999 under the terms of the Belfast Agreement. Since then it has recieved over £6m of public funding. However, with over six years of work and millions of investment what do Sluggerites think it has achieved? The balance of both Commissions has been criticised and the first became disfunctional over the Ardoyne Road/Holy Cross dispute. They took advise to mean “write” the Bill of Rights but its work ran completely into the sand or as it describes it:
“The Commision has found it difficult to achieve a political consensus on what should constitute a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland and is currently deliberating on the nature and content of its advice to government.”
Now in the St Andrews Agreement Government plans to increase its powers over the citizenry. Is it not an approriate time to ask:
1. What tangible on the ground impact has NIHRC made?
2. If the NIHRC hadn’t existed, what, if anything, would be different today?
3. Could the £6m invested differently have done more to promote a human rights culture than the NIHRC?