Written answers

Wednesday, 23 March 2022

Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth

Rights of People with Disabilities

Photo of Neasa HouriganNeasa Hourigan (Dublin Central, Green Party)
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146. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth if he plans to establish a standalone Ombudsman to investigate breaches of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15260/22]

Photo of Anne RabbitteAnne Rabbitte (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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There are no immediate plans to establish an Ombudsman on the lines suggested by the Deputy, in view of the existing powers and functions of the Ombudsman and the Children's Ombudsman, both of whom have conducted very important, effective and valuable examinations and reviews of disability issues to date.

In addition to the existing powers of the Ombudsman and Ombudsman for Children, the Disability Act places obligations on public bodies to provide accessible services, information, and to the extent to which it is practicable, also to physical spaces. The Act also sets out a specific complaints process. In addition, the provisions of the Equal Status Acts prohibit discrimination on ten equality grounds, including disability status, in relation to employment, goods and services. Redress is available under the Acts through a complaints mechanism that is administered by the Workplace Relations Commission .

Ireland ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) on 20 March 2018. This marked an important milestone in a process to strengthen the rights of people with disabilities in Ireland that has gathered momentum since Ireland became a signatory to the Convention in 2007.

Ireland's approach to meeting the obligations of the UNCRPD is one of progressive realisation - each year moving forward on key reforms, with the obligations arising from the Convention being met over time. Initial priority has been given to meeting legislative commitments and requirements.

Following ratification of the Convention, my Department is in the process of examining the requirements for ratification of the Optional Protocol, which concerns redress mechanisms. This process will encompass a robust review of present redress mechanisms for breaches of rights under the UNCRPD. Ratification of the Protocol is a commitment in the Programme for Government and if any further action on redress mechanisms is required this will identified and pursued.


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