U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 1997 - Ireland
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||30 January 1998|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 1997 - Ireland, 30 January 1998, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6aa4d0.html [accessed 28 December 2014]|
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, January 30, 1998.
IRELANDIreland is a parliamentary democracy with a long tradition of orderly transfer of power. The Government is headed by a President and a Prime Minister, and there is a bicameral Parliament. The judiciary is independent. The national police are under the effective civilian control of the Minister of Justice and have sole responsibility for internal security. Ireland's principal internal security concern has been to prevent the spillover of terrorist violence from Northern Ireland. The Irish Republican Army's (IRA) declaration of a cease-fire on July 19 led to the start of substantive political negotiations between key parties to the conflict. Ireland has an open, market-based economy that is highly dependent on international trade. It is a large net recipient of funds from the European Union (EU) designed to raise per capita gross national product to the EU average. Despite strong economic growth over the past few years, unemployment remains 10.8 percent. The Government generally respected the human rights of its citizens. Human rights problems arise primarily from: prison overcrowding and substandard facilities; instances of abuse by police and prison officials; the continuation of special arrest and detention authority and the nonjury court; discrimination and violence against women; abuse of children; the occasional censorship of films, books, and periodicals; discrimination against refugees; and a lack of explicit antidiscrimination legislation, especially in relation to persons with disabilities and travelers (an itinerant ethnic community).