Failure to ratify UN Convention on Disabilities limiting opportunities and stymying progress 

10th anniversary of signing a reminder of failure of Govt to deliver on PfG commitment 

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Disability, Margaret Murphy O’Mahony has said that every day that the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability is another day that the Irish State fails people with Disabilities.

Deputy Murphy O’Mahony was commenting as the 10th anniversary of Ireland signing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2007.

“It is now 10 years since Ireland rightly signed up to the UN Convention, yet it is still to be formally ratified by the Oireachtas. The Programme for Government makes an explicit commit to facilitate the ratification of the Convention by the Oireachtas.

“In an effort to keep this commitment, Minister McGrath published what can best be described as half a bill, the Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016. This piece of legislation, which the Government has by its own admission described as insufficient, is simply not comprehensive enough, I believe, to allow the Oireachtas ratify the UN Convention.

“The Minister, to my mind, decided that come hell or high water, he’d get a bill published no matter how poor it was. Across the disability sector, there was significant disappointment that the bill comprehensive enough from the start. Waiting till the Committee Stage to add in entire sections is not an appropriate way to pass national legislation.

“As we head for the Easter break there is still no sign of the outstanding sections being published.  This is hardly the best way to honour the ratification of this important United Nations Convention or to mark the tenth anniversary of Ireland signing it. For my part, I have tabled a number of my own amendments to the bill and I am anxious to see them debated and the bill finally becoming law.

“The ongoing delays are not acceptable and I hope that the recurrent crises in the justice sector are not diverting attention from this crucial legislation. Fianna Fáil has previously committed to transferring disability policy to an enhanced department of Social Protection. The delays in the passage of this bill make such a change more imperative than ever.

“We need to ensure that people with disabilities are given equality of opportunity so they can participate in society to the best of their abilities. The current half measures and delays coming from the Minister will not help deliver that type of society,” concluded Murphy O’Mahony.

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