asked Her Majesty's Government:
Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Crawley on 22 July (WA 277), what interpretation is given to (a) identity; (b) ethos; (c) aspirations of both communities; and (d) parity of esteem in Northern Ireland; and how they measure their activities to ensure they comply with those principles. [HL5936]
“Identity”, “ethos” and “aspirations” are commonly understood terms which should be read as relating to those characteristics of both the nationalist and unionist communities in Northern Ireland in the context of the Belfast agreement. “Parity of esteem” should be read in the context of the broader affirmation made in paragraph (v) of Article 1 of the agreement.
The Belfast agreement recommended a statutory obligation to promote equality of opportunity in specified areas and parity of esteem between the two main communities and to investigate individual complaints against public bodies. Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 gave effect to this recommendation in UK domestic law. Public authorities assess the likely impact on equality or community relations of new policies in accordance with their published equality schemes.