Friday 22 February 2019

Equality Authority chief quits after €2.5m Budget cut

Shane Hickey

THE chief executive of the Equality Authority has resigned after funding to the body was cut in the recent Budget.

Niall Crowley yesterday sent a letter to the chairperson of the body, Angela Kerins, and Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern, tendering his resignation.

October's Budget saw 43pc of its funding cut, amounting to some €2.5m, which Mr Crowley has said would severely curtail the body's work for people experiencing discrimination.

In a statement last night, Ms Kerins confirmed that she had received his resignation, which she said was a "surprise".

Tribute

"I would like to pay tribute to the hard work Niall has done as chief executive of the Equality Authority," said the statement.

"Niall Crowley has made a significant contribution to the cause of equality and anti-discrimination in Ireland and in Europe and deserves great recognition for his work.

"While I accept that the reduction in the authority's budget will have an impact on our work, I am confident that we will be able to carry out our core functions, but in a more limited and prioritised way."

Mr Crowley has maintained a high-profile position in his role as chief executive since he was appointed to the position in April 1999. He could not be contacted for comment last night.

A meeting was held on Wednesday between Mr Crowley and the minister, where the issue of funding was discussed. Sources indicate that the minister refused to move on the issue.

In her statement, Ms Kerins said the work of the authority was recognised by the minister and that he regretted having to impose the cuts.

"The authority has a hugely important role to play in the combating of discrimination and now more than ever in the current economic climate, where people who are disadvantaged are often the most affected," she said.

"The authority now needs to concentrate on the significant challenges that lie ahead, using all of our resources to work on behalf of those who experience inequality and discrimination."

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