Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill Passed - Enactment by Christmas


Inclusion Ireland has welcomed the historical passing of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill 2013 in Dáil Éireann on Thursday, December 17th.

This ground-breaking piece of legislation brings about the long-awaited repeal of the Victorian-era Lunacy Regulation (Ireland) Act 1871 and the Marriage of Lunatics Act 1811.

The passing of the Capacity Bill 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 passing of this Bill removes a significant barrier to ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

It 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.

Now that the Bill has passed this Dáil stage, it can be signed into law by the President Michael D Higgins. Once he has received the Bill, he will have a window of five to seven days to sign the legislation into law.

Inclusion Ireland Training & Development Officer Sarah Lennon said:

“The passing of the Capacity legislation is a truly significant day for persons with disabilities across Ireland. It will bring about the repealing of the Lunacy Act, Marriage of Lunatics Act and will start the discharge of thousands of people from the archaic Wards of Court system. 

“The Victorian-era Lunacy Regulation (Ireland) Act 1871 refers to persons with intellectual disabilities as ‘idiot’, ‘lunatic’ and of ‘unsound mind’. Ireland has finally replaced this outdated law with modern human rights-compliant mental capacity legislation.

“We are grateful for the work that various TDs and Senators have put into this key piece of legislation and also the work that Minister Kathleen Lynch has put into the whole process over the last four years. We are also grateful for her willingness to take on board the concerns of organisations like Inclusion Ireland who are in daily contact with individuals and families affected by this issue.”

Read full Inclusion Ireland Press Release on historical passing of the Capacity Bill

Further information 

Capacity Bill passes in the Seanad (December 2015)

Seanad Committee Stage (December 2015)

Seanad Second Stage (November 2015)

Report & Final Stages in Dail (October 2015)

Training & Development Officer Sarah Lennon Blog Post

More about the Capacity