Thursday, 17 November 2022
Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
113. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth if he will undertake the development of a national policy and framework on the recognition and consultation of persons with disabilities and their disabled persons' organisations. [56792/22]
I note the recommendations made in two reports published this year by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Disability Matters, which the Deputy chairs, in relation to the participation of people with disabilities.
Government has no plans to develop a stand-alone national policy and framework on the recognition and consultation of persons with disabilities and their representative organisations, having regard to the range of whole of government measures and policies already in place, and our focus on continuous advancement and improvement of those policies and practices.
I recognise that the inclusion of people with disabilities in the policy making process is set out as a clear obligation in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and it is of the utmost importance to me as Minister of State with responsibility for Disability.
Effective and meaningful consultation with people with disabilities and their representative organisations is a critical component of inclusive policy making processes. In that regard, the Disability Participation and Consultation Network (DPCN) was established in 2020 with funding from my Department.
The DPCN successfully facilitated a comprehensive and inclusive consultation on Ireland's first State Report under the UNCRPD. The final Report that was submitted to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in November 2021 benefits greatly from contributions made through this process. It continues to facilitate consultations with people with disabilities, and remains an important forum through which people with disabilities, including Disabled Persons Organisations, are supported to become involved in consultations that inform the development of law and policy in Ireland.
As Ireland's approach to implementing its obligations in the UNCRPD is one of continuous advancement - each year strengthening and improving upon the way in which we uphold the rights and obligations therein - I am conscious of the need to continually review the ways in which we advance and implement inclusive consultation. To that end, I welcome the recent report published by the National Disability Authority (NDA) titled “Participation Matters: Guidelines on implementing the obligation to meaningfully engage with disabled people in public decision making”.
Consultation of persons with disabilities and their representative organisations will also form a strong part of future national policy frameworks. The Government is committed to developing an overarching UNCRPD Implementation Plan and I look forward to working through the development of this Plan in consultation with people with disabilities and their representative organisations.