Thursday, 1 April 2021
Prime Time Investigates Programme on Department of Health: Statements
Richard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
It is sinister to keep files on vulnerable children and their families while the State tools itself up to protect against legal action by the families who are simply trying to assert their legal right and entitlement to equality. That is what we are talking about. It is their right to equality under the law to get the assessments, services, supports and so on to which they are entitled. Rather than the State vindicating those rights and providing those assessments and supports, it looked for ways to trash them legally.
Why are all the senior Ministers not in here telling us what they knew and did not know? There has been a concerted effort to turn this debate into a damp squib and make what was done a non-issue that can be floated off into questions of legality. We need to know whether any of the sitting Cabinet members who are former Ministers for Health knew anything at all about this or approved it. I am not talking about the Minister of State when I ask whether this is linked to politics. There is, in my mind, a connection between the refusal of the Government to ratify the optional protocol of the UN's Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, CRPD, which would have ensured legal accountability in terms of the vindication of equal rights for people with special needs and disability, and what has happened in this case. Does the Minister of State agree there is a connection between those two issues?