The network was established by the European Commission in September 2002 (on foot of a European Parliament Resolution of July 2001), following a competitive tender process.
The network consists of legal experts who are authorities on human rights from each of the EU Member States. It is entrusted with the preparation of an annual report on fundamental rights in the European Union and must assist the Commission and Parliament in the adoption of a human rights policy within the Union. It will contribute to an evaluation of the implementation of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights both by the EU institutions and by the Member States over a five-year period.
Donncha O'Connell has recently returned to a lecturing position at the Law Faculty, NUI Galway, following a three-year leave of absence in which he was the first full-time Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties. He is currently a board member of Amnesty International Irish Section and of the Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC) Ltd. but will serve on the network of experts in an independent capacity.
Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway Tel. 091-750418