The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter T.D., today
congratulated Mr. Michael Farrell on taking up his position as the Irish
member to the Council of Europe’s European Commission against Racism and
Intolerance (ECRI). Mr. Farrell was nominated by the Minister for the
position and he replaces Dr. Mazhar Bari, whose term expired in November
2011. The term of office of a member of ECRI is five years.

Mr. Farrell is a Senior Solicitor with the Free Legal Advice Centres and
was a member of the Irish Human Rights Commission (IHRC) from 2001-2011.
During that period, he acted as Chair of the Racism, Migration and
Trafficking Committee of the IHRC and Chair of the Racism Sub-committee of
the Joint Committee of the IHRC and the Northern Ireland Human Rights
Commission. Mr. Farrell was also a member of the Steering Group on the
development of the National Action Plan against Racism and subsequently a
member of the Strategic Monitoring Committee which oversaw the
implementation of the Plan. He was Vice-Chair and then Co-Chair of the
Irish Council for Civil Liberties in the 1990s.

Congratulating Mr. Farrell, Minister Shatter said “Mr. Farrell is highly
qualified to take up the position of Ireland’s member to the European
Commission against Racism and Intolerance given his wide range of expertise
and experience in this area at both national and international levels. I
have no doubt that he will make a significant contribution to the work of
this important body.”

The position of Ireland’s member of ECRI was publicly advertised by the
Department of Justice and Equality in August this year and expressions of
interest were sought from suitably qualified and experienced persons.
Following objective evaluation of the applications by appropriate
officials, the Minister decided to forward Mr. Farrell’s nomination to the
Secretary General of the Council of Europe and it was approved by the
Committee of Ministers’ Deputies today.

Commenting on the process of Mr. Farrell’s selection, Minister Shatter said
“This was the first time that the vacancy of Ireland’s member of ECRI was
publicly advertised and qualified persons were given the opportunity to
apply for the position. I am delighted to note that the openness of the
nomination process has been commented on favourably by the Council of

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance is a Council of Europe body entrusted with the task of combating racism, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance in greater Europe and from the perspective of the protection of human rights.

ECRI’s objectives are: to review member states’ legislation, policies and other measures to combat racism, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance and their effectiveness; to propose further action at local, national and European level; to formulate general policy recommendations to member states and to study international legal instruments applicable in the matter with a view to their reinforcement where appropriate.

Members of ECRI attend 3 plenary meetings in Strasbourg each year, each of 3-4 days duration and participate in country visits. The meetings, country visits and preparatory work consists of approximately 25 days work per year.