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Our Commitment to Equality and Diversity

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is committed to fostering a culture of respect and equality to the benefit of our staff, the Department itself, and those we serve at home and abroad.

L to R: Ambassador to Poland, Gerard Keown, Rosaleen McDonagh, Senator Lynn Ruane, Secretary General Niall Burgess, Owen Feeney, Pablo Rojas Coppari and Caoimhe Ní Chonchúir at the inaugural Equality and Diversity workshop held in the Ballroom of Iveagh House, April 2017.

L to R: Ambassador to Poland, Gerard Keown, Rosaleen McDonagh, Senator Lynn Ruane, Secretary General Niall Burgess, Owen Feeney, Pablo Rojas Coppari and Caoimhe Ní Chonchúir at the inaugural Equality and Diversity workshop held in the Ballroom of Iveagh House, April 2017. © DFAT

A dedicated working group on Equality and Diversity was established in the Department in 2016, with the objective of supporting an inclusive and diverse working environment. The focus of the Working Group is the Department’s treatment of the grounds for discrimination in employment equality and equal status law, with the additional ground of socio-economic background. The nine grounds of the Employment Equality Act address discrimination relating to gender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race and membership of the Traveller community. It complements actions underway within the Department to promote gender equality, and will hopefully make a significant contribution to wider civil service renewal.

The Department is proud to be an attractive employer, where a diverse staff can reach their full potential. In May 2018, the Management Board of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade endorsed an Action Plan to support Diversity and Equality, which proposes a number of initiatives to build on progress and address barriers to equality in our work place and service provision. It represents an opportunity for the Department to make explicit its commitment to diversity and equality.

The Action Plan draws on the issues and ideas identified and prioritised by staff at an initial workshop in April 2017 and at the Departmental Conference held in January 2018. It includes proposals identified in an analysis of best practice in other foreign ministries and through engagement with public and private organisations with a strong record in supporting diversity, including the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.