Justice and Equality Committee makes important amendments to disability legislation

Justice and Equality Committee makes important amendments to Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016

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The Select Committee on Justice and Equality discussed the Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016 today (30.01.19) and has made amendments to it.

In his opening remarks, Minister for Disability Issues, Finian McGrath reminded those present that the purpose of the Bill is to give effect to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Inclusion Ireland had called for a number of amendments and the Committee members highlighted some of these during the debate.

Some of the amendments that were carried today include:

  • Deleting the reference to ‘mental and intellectual capacity to serve as a juror’ and replacing this with ‘decision-making’ capacity, to make the law more in line with the Assisted Decision-Making Capacity Act
  • Obliging local authorities to make polling stations accessible to wheelchair users
  • Giving the Referendum Commission a broader remit to provide accessible information

Addressing the absence of deprivation of liberty safeguards from this law, Minister Finian McGrath told the Committee that a working group is in the process of considering the submissions that were made on this issue during a public consultation in early 2018.

The Committee also discussed making changes to the Bill with regard to reasonable accommodation though no amendments were passed at this stage.

The Bill now passes to report stage, where Committee members may make further amendments arising out of today’s debate.

Chair of the Committee, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, called on Minister Finian McGrath to bring the Bill to the next stage at the earliest possible opportunity.