Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016 being debated on 30th January
The Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016 will be discussed by the Select Committee on Justice and Equality on Wednesday 30th January.
The Bill is at Committee stage which means that there will be a detailed examination of each section of the Bill as well as an opportunity for Government and Opposition Members to propose amendments to the text.
The purpose of the Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016 is to make changes to existing legislation so that Ireland is compliant with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
Areas covered by the Bill
The Bill proposes changes to law across a broad range of areas that impact on people with disabilities including, serving on a jury, elections, reasonable accommodation and the monitoring of the UNCRPD.
Overall, Inclusion Ireland welcomes the amendments in relation to jury services, electoral acts and the expansion of reasonable accommodation; although this does not go far enough.
In relation to serving on juries, Inclusion Ireland is concerned that the Bill is not consistent with the Assisted Decision-Making legislation and has recommended this part be amended.
The Bill will amend the Electoral Acts to remove reference to a person of ‘unsound mind’ standing for election. This is a good opportunity to make further amendments to ensure that all aspects of an election are accessible to persons with disabilities.
Inclusion Ireland has recommended that the Advisory Committee for the UNCRPD should be representative of all forms of disability and should be adequately resourced, facilitated and its members accommodated and supported so that they can actively and effectively participate in all functions of the committee
More needs to be done to ensure that people with disabilities can obtain reasonable accommodations to access services whether these are provided by a public body or the private sector.
Deprivation of liberty safeguards not included
In the Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill as initiated, there was no detail included on the text relating to deprivation of liberty. Inclusion Ireland was deeply concerned that it was only planned to introduce this crucial part of the Bill at committee stage.
Since the Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill was originally published, there has been a move to introduce Part 13 of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015, thus removing consideration for deprivation of liberty safeguards from this legislation.
Inclusion Ireland is aware that an Advisory Group comprised of key stakeholders has been formed to progress this work. However, it is not clear what time-frame is involved. Legislative clarity is required on the issue of deprivation of liberty and it is disappointing that the reform of this area will not proceed at the same pace as other reforms required to comply with the UNCRPD.