• The national association for people with intellectual disability warns, however, that Ireland is not compliant with the international agreement.
The Dáil will this evening (7th March 2018), debate an historic Government-led motion to finally ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Ireland signed the international agreement, seen as a blueprint for improving the rights of persons with disabilities, with great fanfare on March 30th 2007. Today’s motion to ratify the Convention comes just shy of the 11th anniversary of Ireland signing the agreement.
Inclusion Ireland CEO Paddy Connolly said, “Today’s Dáil motion is an historic occasion and brings the curtain down on the long, drawn-out saga relating to Ireland’s failure to ratify the UNCRPD. It is however not an occasion to celebrate because much more work remains to be done from here.”
Commenting on the 11 years that have passed since Ireland signed the international agreement, Mr Connolly said, “The Convention does not confer any new rights on people with disabilities but it does set out in clear terms that the rights of persons with disabilities are the same human rights as enjoyed by everyone else. It is clear from the length of time it has taken to get to the point of ratification that people with disabilities have not been a priority for successive Governments in Ireland over the past decade.”
“Ireland is the final country in the European Union to ratify the UNCRPD, and while today’s Dáil motion moves ratification one step closer, there are blockages and substantial legislative amendments needed before Ireland will actually be in compliance with the Convention. Many of these legislative blockages have been repeatedly mentioned by Government in justifying the delay.”
Calling on the Government to explain the sudden move to ratify and to publish a new timescale for legislative amendments, Mr. Connolly said, “Government must explain why, after almost eleven years of delay, there has been a sudden move to ratify the Convention without fixing the problems they have already flagged as a barrier to ratification. The failure to commence the Assisted Decision-Making Act, issues relating to reasonable accommodation in provision of goods & services and lack of safeguards around the deprivation of liberty for people with disabilities and older people means that Ireland will not be able to comply with the Convention and a clear commitment from Government is needed to get these matters in order.”
Following Ireland’s ratification of the UNCRPD the Irish performance will be monitored by the UN and a mechanism involving the Irish Human Rights & Equality Commission will be established including an ‘advisory group’ of people with lived experience of disability. Mr. Connolly said, “It is essential that the advisory group are given all of the supports they require and the resources they need to effectively monitor whether Ireland is upholding the rights of people with disabilities. The voices of those with lived experience of disability will provide the true picture of what life is like for a person with a disability in Ireland.”
Inclusion Ireland is a national rights-based advocacy organisation that works to promote the rights of people with an intellectual disability and their families. The advocacy organisation provides a central forum to identify priorities and formulate nationally agreed policies to present to government, statutory bodies, other relevant groups as well as the general public. Inclusion Ireland campaigns for changes in services and legislation that will improve the quality of life and participation of people with an intellectual disability in Irish society in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
The UNCRPD is an international agreement on the rights of persons with disabilities. It does not create new rights but instead requires states to ensure, protect and promote the rights of persons with disabilities. UNCRPD requires that states take extra measures to create an enabling environment and to remove the barriers that society may puts in the way of people with disabilities accessing their rights. The Convention was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2006 in an effort to ensure that persons with disabilities enjoy the same human rights as everyone else. Ireland signed the CPRD in March 2007. However, Ireland is one of the few Member States of the EU yet to ratify the Convention.
The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015
The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 was signed into law by President Michael D Higgins on December 30th 2015. This ground-breaking legislation will result in significant improvements in the lives of persons with intellectual disabilities as their ability to make decisions for themselves will be enshrined in law. The legislation also demonstrates a seismic cultural shift away from a paternalistic and ‘best interests’ approach towards persons with intellectual disabilities to a right-based approach of choice, control and consent.
A briefing note has issued to all Dáil Deputies and can be read by clicking here.
Nyle Lennon, Communications Officer, 086 837 3394