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The Experience of Discrimination in Ireland: Analysis of the QNHS Equality Module

Abstract

This study examines the subjective experience of discrimination across the adult population in Ireland. The research is based on analysis of the special module on Equality, which was included in the Quarterly National Household Survey in 2004. The survey examines reported discrimination in work, job search, and in seven service domains (e.g. financial services, health services, shops/pubs and restaurants). The results of this study outline the scale and distribution of perceived discrimination in Ireland. It highlights particular social groups and particular social institutions/contexts in which levels of perceived discrimination are high. People with disabilities, non-Irish nationals and the unemployed reported high levels of work- related discrimination. Those at most risk of discrimination while accessing services were people with disabilities, non-Irish nationals and minority ethnic groups. Women are more likely to report discrimination on gender, marital and family status grounds, while age and nationality were more commonly cited by men as the grounds of discrimination. The majority of those who experienced discrimination took no action in response. In many case the groups most vulnerable to discrimination were least likely to take action. Given the changing nature of Irish society the report argues that it is extremely important that this information is collected on a regular basis so the level and distribution of discrimination can be tracked and changes monitored.