Equal status

The Equal Status Act, 2000.

What the fuck is that?

It’s an act that was passed in 2000, which gives people equal status.


Do you really want to read the Equal Status Act, 2000? If you do, I can copy the whole fuckin lot here and you can wade through the entire bullshit, but I’d prefer not to. Is that ok? I’m not a lawyer and I don’t like reading laws, but it isn’t because I don’t like reading. I just don’t like reading shit.

Most of our laws, as you know, are British, which is not an intrinsically bad thing, but the Brits had a system for years where people who drafted legislation were paid by the word. Worse, they had a system where people who drafted laws had no fucking training whatever in expressing themselves clearly. On top of that, they had a tradition of trying to make sure in drafting a law that every possible angle was covered so there would be no ambiguity in any law passed. This is a great system, which our legislature carried on to the present day, and as you can see, there’s never any need to argue legal points in court because they’re all so well covered in the law. That’s why we have no High Court and no Supreme Court in Ireland. We just don’t need them. The law is very clear, so there’s absolutely no need for plain language that you and I could understand.

But back to the Equal Status Act, 2000.

It’s illegal to discriminate against you because

you’re too old
you’re too young
you’re married
you’re not married
you’re gay
you’re not gay
you’re black
you’re not black
you believe in God
you don’t
you’re a Traveller
you’re not a Traveller

I’m worried about this. I’m concerned because unscrupulous people might try to use the law to the disadvantage of Travellers and Gays by falsely claiming to be a member of those communities. Unfortunately, the law doesn’t seem to provide a remedy for this concern. There doesn’t seem to be any criterion to define exactly what constitutes a member of the Travelling Community. Therefore, it seems that any charlatan could claim to be a Traveller, and spuriously demand equal status under the Act, which doesn’t seem to be fair to genuine Travellers. Therefore, it seems to me, anybody making a claim under the Equal Status Act, should be asked to prove their membership of whatever group they claim to be a part of.

I mean, suppose I turn up in court claiming that some pub refused me service because I’m a Traveller, shouldn’t the owner be entitled to say I never believed you were a Traveller, so I couldn’t have discriminated against you. I refused you because you’re a drunken fucker who might start a fight. Prove you’re a Traveller!

Which, you have to admit, is a fair point.

Now, the only problem is, how do you prove you’re a Traveller? Is the judge going to say, Of course he’s a tinker. Look at the state of him! No. That’s not going to happen. So how exactly are we to decide who’s a Traveller and who’s not? Personally, I think the game’s up. It’s only a matter of waiting for a test case.

Even more worryingly in court, of course, is this. How would you prove you’re gay?

I don’t even want to think about that.

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