Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 17 November 2022
Committee on Public Petitions
Decisions on Public Petitions Received
Petition No. 20 of 2021 is titled "Why we need to dispel old illogical lunacy laws in Ireland and which have been amended and repealed. This is not enough. They need to be put beyond use by being dispelled. They are the epitome of injustice." from Ms Philomena Geoghegan. This petition relates to a request to dispel old lunacy laws in Ireland. The secretariat corresponded with the Department of Health on behalf of the petitioner. The Department responded and stated its support for the replacement of the wardship system. It advised the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 provides a statutory framework for people who need assistance in making decisions about their welfare and their property and affairs. This Act is the responsibility of the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth and the Department of Health advised the committee should correspond with it on this petition. This correspondence from the Department of Health was sent to the petitioner. The petitioner replied to the secretariat advising that while she supports the 2015 Act, she feels it does not go far enough and continues to seek that old lunacy laws be dispelled.
The secretariat corresponded with the Joint Committee on Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth on the petitioner’s behalf. The clerk to the committee acknowledged the correspondence, noting that it was considered at the meeting of 25 October 2022 and the matter will not be pursued. The clerk requested permission to forward the correspondence to the Joint Sub-Committee on Mental Health. The secretariat also corresponded with the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth on the petitioner's behalf and a response was received on 14 November 2022 which stated, among other things, that once amended and commenced in full, the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) (Amendment) Act 2022 will abolish the wards of court system for adults and repeal the Lunacy Regulation (Ireland) Act 1871.
The committee recommends the correspondence from the Joint Committee on Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth and the correspondence from the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth be forwarded to the petitioner for consideration and reply within 14 days. Pending a response from the petitioner further action, if any, will then be decided by the Committee. Do members have any views or is this agreed?