Gender mainstreaming was driven in Ireland by the National Development Plan 2000–2006 (NDP), which incorporated ESF grants. It included a mandate to mainstream gender equality as a horizontal principle. In 1999 and 2000 the Employment Equality Acts and the Equal Status Acts were enacted to prohibit discrimination on gender and eight other grounds in employment and in the provision of goods and services. The Equality Authority was established to promote equality of opportunity and combat discrimination in the areas covered by this legislation. The legislation was further developed with the enactment of the Equality Act in 2004.
The National Women’s Strategy 2007–2016 is the current framework for Ireland’s gender-equality policy. There are three objectives focused on the implementation of the strategy. The first of these is ‘To implement gender mainstreaming as the principal instrument for the achievement of gender equality in Ireland’. Seven actions are listed for this objective: two refer to the re-establishing of the NDP Gender Equality Unit as the Central Gender Mainstreaming Unit by the end of 2007; two refer to training; one speaks of considering the use of gender budgeting; and the others refer to support and guidance for government departments.