The HEA launch the Anti-Racism Principles for Irish Higher Education Institutions

Maura O'Shea

By Maura O'Shea

Posted: 20 March, 2023

The Higher Education Authority (HEA) today, 20th March, launched the Anti-Racism Principles for Irish Higher Education Institutions which aim to harness the power that Irish Higher education institutions (HEIs) have as leaders of positive change in society to challenge racism and race inequality. Irish colleges have seen a growth in the ethnic diversity of their staff and students, reflective of the diversity in Ireland’s population and these Anti-Racism Principles seek to embed a culture of race equality across higher education.

In September 2022, the HEA published a Race Equality Implementation Plan to advance the work of the HEA’s Centre of Excellence for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion following the publication of the first National Race Equality Report published in October 2021. A key action in this implementation plan is the development of a statement on race equality and a national conference on race equality, which is launched today at the first HEA National Race Equality Conference in University of Galway as the Anti-Racism Principles for Irish Higher Education Institutions. These Principles have been developed through careful consultation with higher education stakeholders and the expert advice of the Athena Swan Ireland Intersectionality Working Group.

The HEA has invited HEI Presidents to sign and endorse these Principles. Through signing the Principles HEIs acknowledge that race inequality is an issue in Irish HE, that racism, although context specific, is a problem in Ireland and racial inequalities are present on a daily basis in our higher education institutions, commit to embedding a culture of race equality in their institution and strategic priorities and to encouraging an open dialogue on advancing race equality. The HEA will be engaging closely with HEIs over the coming months to progress this important initiative.

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD said:

Diversity remains a key strength of our higher education system. I welcome the leadership shown by our higher education institutions in tackling racism and acting as a beacon for other sectors of society.

“The publication of the Anti-Racism Principles is a significant development and delivers on one of the key actions in the recently published Race Equality Implementation Plan. I look forward to the ratification of these principles by our higher education institutions.

By adopting these principles, Ireland and our higher education sector is sending out a clear message to the world that we are an inclusive society that promotes the values of equality, diversity and respect.”

CEO of the Higher Education Authority, Dr Alan Wall, said:

The HEA remains committed to advancing race equality in higher education and continues to pioneer this work. The publication of Anti-Racism Principles for Irish Higher Education Institutions is another landmark moment for the sector. The onus is now on our higher education institutions to endorse these important Principles and associated commitments.”




  • In 2021, the HEA Centre of Excellence for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion ran the first National Race Equality Survey of all HEIs, the findings of same were included in the Race Equality Report, published in October 2021.
  • The Centre prepared a Discussion paper on the Report which was circulated to the Committee for discussion at their April meeting. The Centre has received feedback from the Athena SWAN Intersectionality Working Group, the HEA National Committee for EDI and from HEIs.
  • The Centre has now finalised the Implementation Plan with a view to advancing this work across the higher education system.
  • Following the launch of the Implementation Plan the Centre will develop a monitoring system to ensure that relevant stakeholders are implementing the key strategic actions which have been identified by the HEA.
  • The Centre has begun implementation of the recommendations for which it is the lead stakeholder. Of particular note is the development of Anti-Racism Principles and the first HEA National Race Equality Conference on 20th March 2023.

More: Anti-Racism Principles, CEO of the Higher Education Authority, HEA, higher education institutions, RACE equality, race equality implementation plan

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