About the ICCL

About the ICCL

 Who we are
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) is Ireland’s leading independent human rights watchdog, which monitors, educates and campaigns in order to secure full enjoyment of human rights for everyone.

The ICCL is an entirely independent organisation and does not rely on government support or funding.

Founded in 1976 by Mary Robinson and others, the ICCL has played a leading role in some of Ireland’s most successful human rights campaigns. These have included campaigns to establish an independent Garda Ombudsman Commission, legalise the right to divorce, secure more effective protection of children’s rights, decriminalise homosexuality and introduce enhanced equality legislation. Since 1976 the ICCL has tirelessly lobbied the State to ensure the full implementation in Ireland of international human rights standards.

We work in three main areas:

Monitoring Human Rights
Promoting Justice
Securing Equality

Helping Ireland Change for the Better

 We monitor government policy and legislation to make sure that it complies with international standards, and speak out when it does not.

We conduct original research on human rights issues as diverse as equal rights for all families, the right to privacy, police reform and judicial accountability.
We run campaigns to raise public and political awareness of human rights issues while working closely with other key stakeholders.

Some of the ICCL’s most recent achievements:

Preventing governments and companies snooping into our private lives

The ICCL and its partners have secured a landmark judgment at the European Court of Human Rights, which found that it was a violation of the right to privacy for the UK to have intercepted all telephone, fax and email communications between Ireland and Britain. The ICCL is now campaigning for a thorough overhaul of Ireland’s own lax data interception and privacy laws.

Ensuring tough scrutiny of Ireland’s adherence to international human rights standards

The ICCL and its partners have compiled a ‘shadow report’ to the United Nations Human Right Committee (HRC). Our report was highly praised, and many of its concerns were reflected in the HRC’s "concluding observations" which identified major gaps in Ireland’s human rights record.

Securing transparency and accountability in policing

 The policy and campaigning work of the ICCL was instrumental in the establishment of the independent Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) in 2007. The ICCL continues to campaign for the adequate resourcing of the Commission in order that in can fully carry out its functions.

Why we need the ICCL

The country is changing, as are the challenges facing those who want to see the human rights of everyone in Ireland fully respected.

Our population is larger and more diverse than ever and changing economic times bring new challenges, especially where protecting the rights of the most vulnerable is concerned.

The human rights of many of our friends, neighbours and colleagues are still not fully respected in Irish law and practice. 

The Government can - and does - choose to ignore the human rights advice of some international and national expert bodies.

Human rights institutions and statutory bodies are under-funded and their future is threatened.

Allegations of Garda misconduct persist, and the Garda Ombudsman lacks the adequate resources to carry out its functions.

We have yet to achieve equality for all families, with same sex and single families and their children still deprived of the equal rights to which they are entitled.

Discrimination in the workplace and in state institutions continues despite the introduction of equality legislation, and measures to seek redress are stunted by a lack of investment.


This is the website of the ICCL and the Irish Civil Liberties Trust*. To find out more about the two organisations and the differences between them, click here

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Annual reports

ICCL Constitution

 Our People

30 year anniversary book


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