Page last updated at 16:13 GMT, Wednesday, 13 June 2012 17:13 UK

OFMDFM Committee

A third of people surveyed by the Equality Commission expressed negative attitudes to Travellers, MLAs were told, on 13 June 2012.

Chief Commissioner Michael Wardlow and his colleagues briefed the OFMDFM committee on the results of "Do you mean me?", the commission's equality awareness survey for 2011.

Other groups subject to significant levels of negative attitudes were transgender persons and East European migrant workers.

Darren McKinstry from the commission outlined the findings of the survey for committee members.

He said that black and minority ethnic people were most likely to feel they had experienced discrimination; around two-thirds of this group felt they had been treated unfairly.

This compared with 50% of lesbian, gay or bisexual people who felt they had been treated unfairly.

Mr Wardlow said they were encouraged by the level of support expressed for the work of the commission, with two-thirds to three-quarters of respondents saying they were doing a good job.

He said there was a need for people to meet more, citing "the transgender person 50% of us don't want in the family, or the Traveller 50% of us don't want in the family, because we've never met one".

Mr Wardlow said most people did not hold negative attitudes and religion had dropped down the list of problem areas.

The DUP's William Humphrey raised the matter of the religious make-up of the workforce at the Equality Commission, which has a disproportionately high percentage of Catholics.

"I was really disappointed to see there was no difference to this," he commented.

Evelyn Collins from the commission said there had been no external recruitment since the last time they had appeared before the committee.

She said the figures were "a source of some frustration to us as well".

Michael Wardlow said they had to appoint the right person for the job.

"I can give you an assurance this is not something we are taking lightly," he added.

Mr Humphrey said he did not believe in positive discrimination. He invited Mr Wardlow to write to him explaining how the commission intended to address the matter.


OFMDFM committee membership




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