Vaccine Passport / Covid Pass / Requirement to prove Covid vaccination discrimination

Equality Commission for Northern Ireland did not have the information requested.

Catherine Edgar

Dear Equality Commission for Northern Ireland,

I and many others have genuine medical reasons not to be vaccinated, regardless of the CMO – Michael McBride's crass and discriminatory comments - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-i...

Please can the Commission provide evidence of the outlined equality recommendations which includes all Section 75 groups, issued to the Department of Health, the NI Executive or those who are part of the decision-making process on domestic vaccine passports / covid pass / requirement to show proof of Covid vaccination in domestic settings in Northern Ireland, in order to prevent unlawful discrimination of the like created by face covering regulations and the intolerant and inequal messaging continually disseminated.

As seen by face coverings, I have not been protected by law. I will not tolerate further discrimination.

Yours faithfully,

Catherine Edgar

ECNI_Information, Equality Commission for Northern Ireland

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland acknowledges receipt of your
email which will be forwarded to the appropriate staff member(s).

 

Further information on the Commission’s work can be found on our
website [1]www.equalityni.org

If you are contacting us about a potential discrimination complaint then a
Discrimination Advice Officer will aim to be in touch with you within 3
working days.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.equalityni.org/

Eoin ONeill, Equality Commission for Northern Ireland

Dear Ms Edgar

I acknowledge receipt of your freedom of information request which is receiving attention.

Regards

Eoin O'Neill
FOI Officer
Equality Commission for Northern Ireland

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Catherine Edgar

Dear Eoin ONeill,

Thank you for your acknowledgement.

Kind regards,

Catherine

Eoin ONeill, Equality Commission for Northern Ireland

1 Attachment

 

 

Dear Ms Edgar

 

I refer to your freedom of information requests of 20^th and 27^th July
2021 in relation to recommendations issued by the Commission to the
Department of Health, NI Executive or those who are part of the decision
making process on Covid vaccine passports and Commission consultation with
the Department of Health in relation to those with genuine medical reasons
not to be vaccinated.

 

The Commission has not made recommendations to or consulted with or been
consulted by the Department of Health or other bodies specifically in
relation to Covid vaccinations but I have set out below in italics the
relevant part of an email dated  25 August 2020 to the Department of
Health in relation to Section 75 duties generally which arose from a query
concerning the wearing of face masks. This advice is based on our section
75  guidance [1]S75dutiesCoronavirus.pdf  and would have been provided to
a number of public authorities developing policies during this period.

 

 

‘You will be aware that the Commission has provided advice to all public
authorities in relation to their Section 75 responsibilities in the
context of developing Covid-19 related policies, and has advised that the
duties continue to apply during the health pandemic.  The  Commission’s
advice is here: [2]S75dutiesCoronavirus.pdf.

 

This advice note fully recognises the exceptional context in which some
public authorities may be working to ensure that policies are in place to
deal with Covid-19 and that policy makers may need to make quick and often
challenging policy decisions. In this context you advise that the
Department has not had time to conduct equality assessments prior to the
legislation being enacted in relation of the wearing of face coverings.

 

In response, we advise that the Section 75 duties continue to apply, even
when implementing Covid-19 related policies ([3]S75dutiesCoronavirus.pdf).
We recommend, in relation to any urgent Covid-19 related policy, that
public authorities continue to try to focus on the duties, as far as
practicable and be able to demonstrate this. For example, screening should
at least begin when a policy is being developed  and if the screening
cannot be completed before the policy is implemented regular ongoing
monitoring and screening should be undertaken to examine any equality
impacts. Throughout the process it is especially important to be aware
that such decisions may have different impacts on different groups of
people and the Department must ensure that due consideration is given to
mitigating the anticipated or actual adverse equality impacts of the
proposed policies.

 

I trust this advice is helpful in considering the potential impacts and
mitigations.’

 

Regards

 

Eoin O’Neill

Freedom of Information Officer

Equality Commission for Northern Ireland

 

 

 

 

.

References

Visible links
1. https://eur01.safelinks.protection.outlo...
2. https://eur01.safelinks.protection.outlo...
3. https://eur01.safelinks.protection.outlo...

Eoin ONeill, Equality Commission for Northern Ireland

1 Attachment

 

 

Dear Ms Edgar

 

I refer to your freedom of information requests of 20^th and 27^th July
2021 in relation to recommendations issued by the Commission to the
Department of Health, NI Executive or those who are part of the decision
making process on Covid vaccine passports and Commission consultation with
the Department of Health in relation to those with genuine medical reasons
not to be vaccinated.

 

The Commission has not made recommendations to or consulted with or been
consulted by the Department of Health or other bodies specifically in
relation to Covid vaccinations but I have set out below in italics the
relevant part of an email dated  25 August 2020 to the Department of
Health in relation to Section 75 duties generally which arose from a query
concerning the wearing of face masks. This advice is based on our section
75  guidance [1]S75dutiesCoronavirus.pdf  and would have been provided to
a number of public authorities developing policies during this period.

 

 

‘You will be aware that the Commission has provided advice to all public
authorities in relation to their Section 75 responsibilities in the
context of developing Covid-19 related policies, and has advised that the
duties continue to apply during the health pandemic.  The  Commission’s
advice is here: [2]S75dutiesCoronavirus.pdf.

 

This advice note fully recognises the exceptional context in which some
public authorities may be working to ensure that policies are in place to
deal with Covid-19 and that policy makers may need to make quick and often
challenging policy decisions. In this context you advise that the
Department has not had time to conduct equality assessments prior to the
legislation being enacted in relation of the wearing of face coverings.

 

In response, we advise that the Section 75 duties continue to apply, even
when implementing Covid-19 related policies ([3]S75dutiesCoronavirus.pdf).
We recommend, in relation to any urgent Covid-19 related policy, that
public authorities continue to try to focus on the duties, as far as
practicable and be able to demonstrate this. For example, screening should
at least begin when a policy is being developed  and if the screening
cannot be completed before the policy is implemented regular ongoing
monitoring and screening should be undertaken to examine any equality
impacts. Throughout the process it is especially important to be aware
that such decisions may have different impacts on different groups of
people and the Department must ensure that due consideration is given to
mitigating the anticipated or actual adverse equality impacts of the
proposed policies.

 

I trust this advice is helpful in considering the potential impacts and
mitigations.’

 

Regards

 

Eoin O’Neill

Freedom of Information Officer

Equality Commission for Northern Ireland

 

 

 

 

.

References

Visible links
1. https://eur01.safelinks.protection.outlo...
2. https://eur01.safelinks.protection.outlo...
3. https://eur01.safelinks.protection.outlo...

Dear Eoin ONeill,

Please forgive my ignorance but are you joking?

The Commission, surely after witnessing the disability discrimination encountered by those unable to wear face coverings – as a reminder “no mask, no entry/service”, the Commission should be planning and taking proactive measures to address the obvious discrimination that will arise from the use of domestic vaccine passports? There are Section 75 groups that will be affected by this and these considerations need to be robustly discussed.

As evidenced recently through the Highstreet Voucher Scheme, Robin Swann has already demonstrated his discriminatory intent towards those of us who for genuine medical reasons, are unable to take a Covid vaccination. What happens if the Executive decide on domestic vaccine passports use, I can’t buy food because of “no vaccine, no entry/service” signs in the supermarket?! Or, likely, as an alternative, I’ll have to provide a negative test just to get milk?? I understand this may seem extreme but I encountered “no mask, no entry/service” signs in a supermarket, we are at the extreme!

You must understand that given the unlawful discrimination I have been subjected to this past year, this inaction from the Commission is extremely worrying. I can’t quite believe it. Please, can you check again, surely the Commission must be addressing this issue?

Yours sincerely,

Catherine Edgar

Dear Eoin ONeill,

The Commission is aware of the face covering discrimination I have faced over the last year from my former employer, from shops, from the general public, from the Department of Health, from Trusts, from media, from Stephen Nolan, from Siobhan O’Neill - I could go on. The Commissions inaction in tackling this discrimination - in not supporting my Tribunal case and through... seemingly, just sitting on my Paragraph 10 complaint against the Department of Health - has been disappointing and worrying to say the least. This inaction has now encouraged the Department of Health and the Department for Communities to ‘go for broke’ and construct a more sinister form of discrimination - medical discrimination. I told you.

https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/news/minist...

"The Department of Health and Department for Communities have supported the event through the provision of £75k." - Has the Commission done anything to address this issue with the Executive and public bodies?

I cannot attend this event!

“We can also take legal action against individuals and organisations in some circumstances, eg if they have published a discriminatory advertisement.”

https://www.equalityni.org/ECNI/media/EC...

How do I avail of the above statement? The Department of Health and Department for Communities have evidently steamrolled over their Section 75 commitments.

Given the seriousness, please advise urgently.

Yours sincerely,

Catherine Edgar

Dear Eoin ONeill,

In 2021, in Northern Ireland, there is an event taking place tonight that I and many others cannot attend because we have not been Covid-19 vaccinated.

https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/news/minist...

Please will the Commission provide an update to the above.

Yours sincerely,

Catherine Edgar

Eoin ONeill, Equality Commission for Northern Ireland

Dear Ms Edgar

I refer to your email below and to your email received this morning.

I note that you refer to medical discrimination which is not a prohibited form of discrimination under the anti-discrimination laws that the Commission derives its powers from.

The Commission has not been in communication with the Department of Health or public bodies in relation to this event.

The Commission can 'in some circumstances' take action in relation to discriminatory advertisements. The power derives from the anti-discrimination statutes and not from Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998.

This power is limited to advertisements that relate to matters that are unlawful under the anti-discrimination laws and in the field of the provision of goods, facilities and services applies to the equality grounds of religious belief, political opinion, sex, pregnancy and maternity, gender reassignment and sexual orientation. The Commission cannot act where it has no statutory power to do so. The power to take action rests with the Commission and not with an individual.

Your complaint under paragraph 10 was considered by the Commission's Statutory Duty Investigations Committee on 15 September and in accordance with our Procedures the decision on it will be notified to you and the public authority concerned within 10 working days.

Regards

Eoin O'Neill
Freedom of Information Officer
Equality Commission for Northern Ireland

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Dear Eoin ONeill,

Thank you for your considered and informative response. I also appreciate your clarification of the limited powers you have to work within. Honestly, it’s terrifying.

Thank you also for the update on my complaint. To be frank, I have all but given up hope that any recommendations, should they be made by the Equality Commission, will make any difference. I was notified by the Dept. on 9th June that “work is currently being finalised on a new public campaign which will include reference to the fact that there are exemptions for the wearing of face coverings, including for children under the age of 13 or those with certain disabilities or health conditions.” Over a year ago now, my former employer was waiting for this...shameful.

Thank you for the information and your time.

Kind regards,

Catherine Edgar