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Assisted Decision-Making

Dáil Éireann Debate, Friday - 3 December 2021

Friday, 3 December 2021

Questions (69)

Pa Daly


69. Deputy Pa Daly asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth his views in relation to the forthcoming Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) (Amendment) Bill 2021. [58560/21]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 (the 2015 Act) is a very important piece of legislation and it is vital that the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) (Amendment) Bill 2021 is enacted so that the 2015 Act can be commenced. I am keenly aware of the significance of the reform that is represented by the 2015 Act. I am equally aware of the scale of that reform and the practical impact it will have on people’s lives.  

The Government made a commitment in the Programme for Government to commencing the 2015 Act, recognising the importance of the much needed reform that it represents. We are working towards a date of June 2022 for full commencement.

The Act changes the existing law on capacity from the status approach of the wardship system to a flexible functional approach, whereby capacity is assessed on an issue and time-specific basis. It will abolish the wards of court system for adults by repealing the Lunacy Regulation (Ireland) Act 1871.  Adults currently in wardship will transition to the new decision-making support arrangements on a phased basis over 3 years from the date of commencement.

The amendments planned in the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) (Amendment) Bill will streamline processes, in the interests of those using its provisions. They will also strengthen the safeguards included in the 2015 Act.

I recently brought the General Scheme of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) (Amendment) Bill to Cabinet, where approval was sought and granted for the drafting of a Bill, and to refer the proposed legislation for pre-legislative scrutiny.

A high-level Steering Group, chaired by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, is overseeing progress of the Bill and working towards full commencement of the Act. The Steering Group comprises senior officials from relevant Departments and agencies.