Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Ceisteanna (417)

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

417. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his position with regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; his plans to ratify this convention; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11845/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I refer the Deputy to the response given by my colleague, Minister of State Kathleen Lynch on 27 February 2014, in which she informed the House that the Government intends to proceed to ratification of the Convention as quickly as possible, taking into account the need to ensure all necessary legislative and administrative requirements under the Convention are met. As the Deputy may be aware, Ireland does not become party to treaties until it is first in a position to comply with the obligations imposed by them, including the amendment of domestic law as necessary.

An interdepartmental committee on the Convention is monitoring the remaining legislative and administrative actions required to enable ratification. As part of its work programme, the committee has identified issues to be considered by various Departments. It is a matter for these Departments to determine whether any actions are required to address the issues in advance of ratification and report back to the committee. This work is ongoing in all Departments. At the request of the committee, the National Disability Authority, the lead statutory agency for the sector, is also assisting in assessing remaining requirements for ratification to ensure that all outstanding issues will be comprehensively addressed.

For my Department one of the key requirements is the enactment of capacity legislation. The programme for Government contains a commitment to introduce a Bill in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill, published on 17 July 2013, provides a series of options to support people with impaired capacity to make decisions and exercise their basic rights in line with the principles of the UN Convention. It undertakes a comprehensive reform of existing legislation governing capacity. The Bill will go to Committee Stage shortly. The enactment of this legislation is one of the core elements of the remaining work to be completed to enable ratification by the State of the UN Convention.