“the Commission does not accept this as a genuine effort to increase human rights protections”

Having apparently failed to notice the publication of the NIO consultation paper on a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland in their annual report to government – despite issuing a statement at the time – the NI Human Rights Commission, operating cost £1,766,407, has published its considered response to the consultation. From the NIHRC statement

The NIO consultation paper is an inadequate response to what should be in a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland. The Commission believes the consultation:
•Demonstrates a lack of understanding of the purpose and functions of a Bill of Rights
•Fails to take appropriate account of international human rights standards
•Appears to be suggesting the lowering of existing human rights standards in Northern Ireland
•Fails to satisfy the minimum common law consultation requirements, and
•Misrepresents the advice given by the Commission

Or, as the UUP’s Danny Kennedy said at the time

Today’s NIO consultation document is a stunning rejection of the frankly ridiculous proposals made by Monica McWilliams and a majority of the NIHRC commissioners. As the document states ‘over half the rights proposed in the NIHRC’s advice’ fall outside the remit given in the Agreement. In regards to the NIHRC proposals on language rights, the NIO document again states that they ‘cannot be said to reflect particular circumstances in Northern Ireland’. On the matter of children’s rights, the NIO document notes that 7 of the 8 proposals do not ‘meet the criterion set out in the Agreement’.

Monica McWilliams and the NIHRC were consistently warned by the UUP that her proposals fell far outside the remit given by the Agreement. These warnings were ignored and rubbished by the NIHRC. Now the Government has vindicated the stance taken by the UUP.

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  • Half Man Half Mustard

    A minor point I’ll admit, but to be fair to NIHRC, I don’t think they ‘failed to notice the publication of the NIO Consultation Paper’ in their annual report. It’s just that the consultation started in November 2009, and the annual report covers the year up to 31 March 2009.

  • iluvni

    Where did the NIHRC’s latest wheeze come from..this 2 weeks where the public can ring in and complain about care homes.
    Where have they been on the issue before this?
    Seems to me they are simply scraping around looking for a reason to justify their existence.

  • joeCanuck

    This exercise should be shut down. If a Bill of Rights is enacted at Westminster, it should apply everywhere in the UK. Otherwise we have the EU laws.

  • Half Man Half Mustard

    #2 One interpretation is that the 2 week care home initiative was a tactic intended to prove that NIHRC was already doing the job that a future Commissioner for Older People would be charged with. The COP legislation is due to be debated in the not-too-distant future, and there’ll be a few questions about duplication and cost-effectiveness between HRC, ECNI and the COP. In reality, it’s Age Conern and Help the Aged (who’ve sensibly merged) who’ve been doing the running on the quality and availability of care homes lately.

  • iluvni

    #4
    Another commissioner! My God, just what we need, another qangocrat picked from the same old pool of worthies to produce glossy reports. Nightmare.
    Waste waste and more waste.

  • Half Man Half Mustard

    I take it you won’t be applying for the position then, ilvuni?

  • GFASupporterButRealist

    And did any of our intrepid journalists, at today’s NIHRC press conference, ask Monica McWilliams about the major interference in the N.I. political process by SF friend Chuck Feeney’s megabucks Atlantic Philanthropies, led by ex Committee on the Administration of Justice head, Martin O’Brien ? Did the reporters press her on the distortion of the political space by a powerful foreign foundation, A P, pourings millions — yes millions — of pounds into the “campaign” for an uneccessary NI Bill of Rights, and whether she regards this as endangering her opponents’ human RIGHTS and flooding the NI political space with massive amounts of foreign money ?
    Of course the opponents of Ms. McWilliams’s wish-list of an all-but-the-kitchen-sink B of R wouldn’t get a brass farthing from Mr. O’Brien’s politically-correct megabucks gravy train. To repeat — see many other postings on Slugger — just look at the gargantuan, millions of pounds in US funding for: NIHRC, the so-called “Human Rights Trust” (set up by Mr. O’B when he was at CAJ), CAJ itself, Community Restorative Justice etc etc. Go on the website and it’s all there:

    http://atlanticphilanthropies.org/grantees/grants/17449_human_rights_trust

    http://atlanticphilanthropies.org/grantees/grants/17450_participation_and_the_practice_of_rights_project

    AND in 2008:
    Community Restorative Justice Ireland
    Mainstreaming Community Restorative Justice Northern Ireland £130,000 2008
    Community Restorative Justice Ireland
    Mainstreaming Support for Community-Based Restorative Justice Northern Ireland £201,246 2008

    Stratagem (NI) Ltd.
    Advocacy and Lobbying Support Programme Northern Ireland £75,000 2008

    The Queen’s University of Belfast Foundation
    Budget Analysis – Rights in NI Northern Ireland £243,294 2008

    AND in 2007:
    Grantee
    Projects Region Served
    Amount Awarded Year Awarded

    Human Rights Trust
    Planning Grant for Establishment of Public Interest Litigation Northern Ireland £32,000 2007
    Human Rights Trust
    Strategic Litigation Project Northern Ireland £1,882,200 2007 (!!!)

    AND in 2006:
    Grantee
    Projects Region Served
    Amount Awarded Year Awarded

    Human Rights Trust
    Northern Ireland Human Rights Consortium Northern Ireland £673,000 2006

  • Having apparently failed to notice the publication of the NIO consultation paper on a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland in their annual report to government –

    Considering the amount of money pumped in from private and public purse even if we only look from a purely administrative pov, the NIHRC is a complete shambles.

    despite issuing a statement at the time – the NI Human Rights Commission, operating cost £1,766,407, has published its considered response to the consultation

    Interestingly enough although an an anodyne statement was issued at the time the full-time was personally nowhere to be found on tv, radio or in the paper media. Considering that Prof McWilliams is not normally backward in putting herself the NIHRC forward it was a curious state of affairs…something else cropped up to take her attention away?

  • Should read:

    Interestingly enough although an an anodyne statement was issued at the time the full-time Chief Commissioner was personally nowhere to be found on tv, radio or in the paper media. Considering that Prof McWilliams is not normally backward in putting herself the NIHRC forward it was a curious state of affairs…something else cropped up to take her attention away

  • Drumlins Rock

    Guys read this page of our unelected ruler’s website, http://atlanticphilanthropies.org/ageing and you might see where the sudden interest in Nursing homes is coming, the question that should be put to Monica is does Mr Feeny fund to any extent this latest campign? and is that proper considering they are a public body with statutory powers being used at the behest of an overseas unelected individual.

  • GFASupporterButRealist

    Drumlins Rock: good sleuthing. There MUST be a connection between the massive grants on aging issues in NI and the campaign by Monica/NIHRC. I have no problems with tackling an issue which is NOT so party/faction political as the Bill of Rights question. But the size of these grants in the public space negates the role of elected politicians/reps. and distorts public policy set through the legislature. Why should a foreign, I repeat FOREIGN, funder be allowed to move into the political space so massively, for good or ill without a very clear declaration that this is being done ? And why have the media been so reluctant to tackle this ? There are major questions for Chuck Feeney and Martin O’Brien and Monica and others to answer here. This is politics-by-private-spender and is a danger to the whole concept of representative democracy and accountability. The new charities commission in NI must close this loophole or put transparency and public declarations at the top of their agenda in this matter.

  • The reason we rely on foreign funders is because rich people here want to take their money to the grave with them. They have recently started investing in start-up companies – but not giving it all away before they die, like Chuck Feeny wants to.

  • granni trixie

    Just had a brill idea – an Atlantic Philanthropies board game …rather in the style of Monopoly …a way to make LOTS OF DOSH?

  • GFASupporterButRealist

    Granni Trixie: there IS an Atlantic Philanthropies board game; but it is played for REAL with bigbucks/megaquids!
    And M O’Brien never loses. Only the weak finance laws governing NI politics lose, well, make that NO laws. The game is called…..Politics The Chuck Feeney Way!
    You pays your money….you gets your public policy! And don’t fret about picayune details such as spending limits, which those little NI politicians have to abide by. No, spend the dosh like there’s no end to the possibilities on your politically correct wish list. Keep the human rights “industry” on the gravy train for decades! Add to the millions which Madden and Finucane have already. Yankee Chuck and his NI treasurer Marty O’Brien know best what we should have, as opposed to what is needed. He who pays the piper calls the tune and if you are the piper, well…..you can arrange a whole songbook of Monica’s favourite hymns, CAJ’s choice anthems, the Human Rights Trust’s liturgy of lolly. Amen! Take the money and run! You couldn’t make it up, as they say in NornIron. Billionaire Chuck and Moneybags Marty make the Northern Bank robbery look like small change……and it’s all quite….legal! Yes, Iris and Peter have to answer for that 50K but it’s small beer compared to the influence peddling Atlantic Philanthropies indulges in. Money talks! Big time in this case……

  • granni trixie

    Get a grip, GFAS,you’re losing the run of yourself. However, to feed your obsession – guess who is building a new home for CAJ around Queens Street (HRT!)…guess who will be renting it from HRT when its built? why CAJ! Yes, renting it from itself. You couldn’t make it up (gives a whole new meaning to infrastructure).

    Meanwhile back in Irisgateville …

  • Framer

    This pointless one month extension was presumably decided on because the NIO got wind of a CAJ judicial review funded by Atlantic Philanthropies ‘litigation’ jar.

    Anyway by 31 March Shaun Woodward will be tidying his papers prior to departure.

    Hopefully any successor will be thinking about a replacement for NIHRC’s chair whose term of office ends next year.

  • granni trixie

    Framer: You are misinformed re the coming to the end of NIHRC Chief’s term of office.

  • The Bill of Rights forum was just to make the NIHRC look like it was doing something meaningful; I have compiled a collection of letters, emails, Data Protection requests and an FoI request to reveal the real face of the NIHRC, see: http://www.christywalsh.com/html/nihrc_fraud.html