Tuesday, 12 October 2021
Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
372. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth if the Disability Participation and Consultation Network meets the State’s obligations under Article 4(3) of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. [49862/21]
Ireland ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in 2018 and continues to progressively realise its obligations under the Convention. The Disability Participation and Consultation Network (DPCN) is an important initiative that will help us to realise both the spirit and the substance of the UNCRPD here in Ireland.
The UNCRPD requires State parties to involve people with disabilities in policy development. Article 4(3) of the UNCRPD specifically states that "In the development and implementation of legislation and policies to implement the present Convention, and in other decision-making processes concerning issues relating to persons with disabilities, States Parties shall closely consult with and actively involve persons with disabilities, including children with disabilities, through their representative organizations."
In progressively realising the obligations arising from Article 4(3) of the UNCRPD, my Department funded the development of the DPCN. It was formed in late 2020 to build capacity within the disability community so that people with disabilities and their representative organisations can participate fully in the development of policies and programmes.
One of the Disability Participation and Consultation Network’s first tasks has been to bring the voices of people with disabilities into consultations on Ireland’s first State Report to the UN on our progress in implementing the Convention. The Disability Participation and Consultation Network facilitated a consultation process amongst its membership to complete that task and I expect that they will continue to feed into policy-making across Departments.
It should be noted that the DPCN is not the only means by which my Department seeks to fulfil its CPRD obligations. My Department has the coordinating role in respect of the National Disability Inclusion Strategy, the steering group of which is chaired by my colleague Minister Anne Rabbitte T.D.. Incorporated into this structure is the Disability Stakeholder Group, which provides independent monitoring of the implementation of the Strategy and which is comprised of persons with disabilities, persons with expertise in relation to disability, and persons with lived experience of disability. My Department explicitly invited applications for persons representing Disabled Persons Organisations in the latest call for expressions of interest to join this Group.
The contribution of the DPCN and the DSG will be very important in supporting the process of fulfilling Ireland's obligations under UNCRPD.