Wednesday, 13 May 2020
Department of Justice and Equality
357. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding Ireland signing up to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4302/20]
As the Deputy is aware, Ireland has ratified the UN Convention against Torture and has signed but not yet ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT).
The Optional Protocol is preventive in nature and provides for the establishment of National Preventive Mechanisms which would inspect facilities where persons can be held involuntarily.
Legislation is required before the Optional Protocol can be ratified and my Department is drafting the General Scheme of that legislation.
As the Deputy will appreciate, consultation has been necessary with a wide range of stakeholders on this matter, given that the Optional Protocol impacts on a number of sectors. My Department is liaising with key stakeholders, including the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, in relation to the proposed model of National Preventive Mechanisms.
When drafting of the General Scheme is completed, it will be circulated to stakeholders for their comments, before submission to Government for approval. Subject to Government approval, it is expected that the General Scheme will be transmitted to the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel for formal drafting before the end of 2020.