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Human Rights Commission secures settlement for Máiría Cahill from the Northern Ireland Office

26 Jan 2021

Human Rights Commission secures settlement for Máiría Cahill from the Northern Ireland Office

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) has settled a case against the Northern Ireland Office on behalf of Máiría Cahill.

In February 2020, Máiríá and NIHRC challenged the election law, which required the publication of the home address of candidates standing in local elections in Northern Ireland. Responsibility for election law in Northern Ireland falls to the Northern Ireland Office and the law has now been changed. Candidates can now indicate if they do not wish their home address to be disclosed.

NIHRC Chief Commissioner Les Allamby stated:

“The previous election law put, for example, victims of domestic violence at risk by forcing them to publish their address. It was unacceptable to expect anyone to jeopardise their safety to run for public office. The Commission welcomes the decision to change the law, settle this case and pay compensation, given that Maíríá lost the opportunity to stand as a candidate in local elections. We would like to thank Máiriá for allowing us to support her to take the case and for her courage. She has paved the way to protect the human rights of anyone who may have faced similar circumstances in the future.”

Máiría Cahill commented:

“I wish to thank the NIHRC and the people who supported me in taking this case, which has - no doubt - influenced the British Government to change the law so that nobody again will have their safety put at risk by having to publish their home address. Personally, it is frustrating that this settlement did not come much sooner in the process, which would have saved time, effort and public money. Nevertheless, I am glad that nobody else will now be put in the position that I was, again.”

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