Written answers

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Department of Justice and Equality

UN Conventions Ratification

Photo of Finian McGrathFinian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
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401. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality if progress has been made regarding the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; the timeframe for same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28043/14]

Photo of Frances FitzgeraldFrances Fitzgerald (Minister, Department of Justice and Equality; Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael)
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I refer the Deputy to the response given by my colleague, Minister of State Kathleen Lynch on 27 February 2014, in which she informed the House that the Government intends to proceed to ratification of the Convention as quickly as possible, taking into account the need to ensure all necessary legislative and administrative requirements under the Convention are met. As the Deputy may be aware, Ireland does not become party to treaties until it is first in a position to comply with the obligations imposed by them, including the amendment of domestic law as necessary.

An interdepartmental committee on the Convention is reviewing the remaining legislative and administrative actions required to enable ratification. As part of its work programme, the committee has identified issues to be considered by various Departments and examination of these issues is ongoing. At the request of the committee, the National Disability Authority, the lead statutory agency for the sector, has also assisted in assessing remaining requirements for ratification to ensure that all outstanding issues will be comprehensively addressed.

For my Department, one of the key requirements is the enactment of capacity legislation. The Programme for Government contains a commitment to introduce a Bill in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill, published on 17 July 2013, provides a series of options to support people with impaired capacity to make decisions and exercise their basic rights in line with the principles of the UN Convention. It undertakes a comprehensive reform of existing legislation governing capacity. The Bill will go to Committee Stage shortly. The enactment of this legislation is one of the core elements of the remaining work to be completed to enable ratification by the State of the UN Convention.

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