Ireland ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in March 2018 but has yet to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention. The Optional Protocol is an international treaty that establishes two procedures aimed at strengthening the implementation and monitoring of the Convention. The first is an individual communications procedure allowing individuals to bring petitions to the Committee claiming breaches of their rights; the second is an inquiry procedure giving the Committee authority to undertake inquiries of grave or systematic violations of the Convention.
The Programme for Government reiterates the commitment to ratify the Optional Protocol after the first reporting cycle under the UNCRPD. Having regard to possible delays at UN Committee level, both I and my colleague, Minister Rabbitte, are open to an earlier ratification of the Optional Protocol.
Our intention is to prepare for ratification of the Optional Protocol once the state is in a position to meet its obligations thereunder. This is in line with Ireland's position of acting in good faith on the international stage.
Commencement of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015, and full operationalisation of the Decision Support Service will be a key requirement in this regard. This is scheduled to take place in June and July of next year respectively, following the passage of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) (Amendment) Bill, which is currently being drafted.
In addition, a detailed review process is needed to ensure that Ireland's legislative provisions and redress mechanisms are sufficient to meet the obligations that will arise once Ireland ratifies the Optional Protocol. My Department is working on this process now and will engage with other Departments and organisations in this regard, with a view to identifying and addressing any further requirements for ratification.
Government is committed to ratification at the earliest possible date.