Same-sex Marriage

Ceisteanna (399)

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

399. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 24 of 27 February 2014, if religious schools will be obliged to teach a version of marriage that is at odds with their beliefs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11597/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

No school will be obliged to change its religious teachings in relation to marriage.

Same-sex Marriage

Ceisteanna (400, 401)

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

400. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 24 of 27 February 2014, if parishes will be forced to rent out their halls to same-sex couples for their wedding receptions as distinct from the ceremonies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11598/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

401. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 24 of 27 February 2014, if Christian professionals like wedding photographers will be forced to work at same-sex marriages if asked; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11599/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 400 and 401 together.

I do not plan to introduce any exemptions from the generality of the equality code in relation to same-sex marriage. The Equal Status Acts 2000-2012 promote equality and prohibit discrimination in the provision of goods and services on the grounds of sexual orientation and civil status, subject to certain exemptions.

Garda Operations

Ceisteanna (402)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

402. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if there has been an Garda Operation Learner Driver in the first two months of 2014; the number of learner drivers checked during that operation; the number of unaccompanied learner drivers detected; the number of learner drivers detected failing to display L-plates; the number of cautions delivered and the number of proceedings commenced on foot of the operation. [11600/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I have requested a report from the Garda authorities in relation to the matter referred to by the Deputy. I will contact the Deputy directly as soon as the report is to hand.

Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission Staff

Ceisteanna (403)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

403. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the actions that will be taken to redress reported reductions in staff numbers at the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission; the current number of vacancies at the commission; and when these posts will be filled. [11601/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am informed by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission that their current whole time equivalent staffing level is 76.6. This figure does not include the three members of the Commission or members of the Garda Síochána on secondment with the Ombudsman Commission.

The Moratorium on Public Service Recruitment applies to the Ombudsman Commission and, like all areas of the Civil/Public Service, it is subject to staffing restrictions. Accordingly the Ombudsman Commission is expected to manage and prioritise work and to seek efficiencies where they can. Exceptions to the Moratorium have been granted to the Ombudsman Commission for key priority areas on a number of occasions, particularly in the operations area.

Decisions on requests for exceptions to the Moratorium for the Ombudsman Commission are made by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. My Department acts as a conduit for requests from the Ombudsman Commission (as well as a number of other bodies under the aegis of the Department) in the contacts with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. The factors to be considered in filling posts would include whether the post is essential to meet the business needs of the organisation, the achievement of the overall reduction in public service numbers and the application of the additional hours available from the Haddington Road Agreement. These additional hours represent the equivalent of an additional 6.5% staff in full time equivalent terms. My Department will continue to liaise with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in relation to requests from the Ombudsman Commission for exceptions to the Moratorium.

Defence of the Dwelling

Ceisteanna (404)

Tom Fleming

Ceist:

404. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will clarify the rights of property owners with regard to defending their families, their properties and themselves against intruders; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11625/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The first recourse of any householder faced with a burglary should be, where circumstances permit, to the Garda Síochána. They are best placed to deal with violent offenders and to investigate offences.

The Criminal Law (Defence and the Dwelling) Act 2011 addresses those unfortunate situations where a householder comes face to face with a burglar and clarifies the law concerning defence of the home. It recognises in a very practical manner the special constitutional status of an individual’s dwelling and makes it clear that a person may use reasonable force to defend themselves in their home. It allows for the use of such force as is reasonable in the circumstances, to protect people in the dwelling from assault, to protect property, to prevent the commission of a crime, or to make a lawful arrest. The Act:

- extends the right to use such reasonable force to the curtilage of the dwelling;

- explicitly provides that a person attacked in the home is not required to retreat; and

- provides that a person who uses such reasonable force cannot be sued by a burglar in respect of any injury, loss or damage arising from it.

Section 2 of the Act sets out the criteria for use of reasonable force by a householder against an intruder entering the dwelling with criminal intent. The householder must believe that the intruder has entered the dwelling to commit a criminal act. The force used against the intruder must only be such as is reasonable in the circumstances as the householder believes them to be, to protect people in the dwelling from assault, to protect property, to prevent the commission of a crime or to make a lawful arrest. Section 2(4) provides that it is a matter for a court or jury to decide whether the householder's belief with regard to the amount of force used was honestly held and provides as follows: It is immaterial whether a belief is justified or not if it is honestly held but in considering whether the person using the force honestly held the belief, the court or jury, as the case may be, shall have regard to the presence or absence of reasonable grounds for so believing and all other relevant circumstances.

The Act achieves the correct balance in providing protections to the householder.

Garda Investigations

Ceisteanna (405, 406, 424)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

405. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a PULSE file was created on a Traveller child when that child was 16 days old; and if this child was ascribed a criminal intelligence number separate from a parent or guardian (details supplied). [11631/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Clare Daly

Ceist:

406. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the steps he has taken to confirm whether Traveller children or adults are being assigned separate criminal intelligence PULSE numbers without having committed any criminal conduct; and the action he will take regarding same. [11632/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pádraig MacLochlainn

Ceist:

424. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he has established with the Garda Commissioner the veracity of the allegations that 40 Traveller families were entered on the Garda PULSE system, including a baby of 16 days old; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11997/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 405, 406 and 424 together.

The management of the PULSE system is an operational matter for the Garda Commissioner. While An Garda Síochána does not comment on individual cases, I am informed by the Commissioner that PULSE does not solely capture information on offenders, but is also used to store information on Garda interactions with individuals, whether adults or children, such as victims of crime, persons injured in road traffic accidents and child welfare incidents. All persons are subject to the same PULSE recording policy and procedures.

I have also been assured by the Garda Commissioner that the Garda Síochána does not engage in ethnic profiling, and specifically that it does not engage in data gathering or data mining based upon discriminatory profiling in respect of race, colour, language, religion, nationality, national or ethnic origin, ethnicity or membership of the Traveller community.

Garda Investigations

Ceisteanna (407)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

407. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will extend the terms of reference of the Seán Guerin SC review into the whistleblower's allegations to include the allegations that 40 Traveller families were entered on the Garda PULSE system as a matter of course and without any foundation or criminal involvement, including a baby of 16 days old who clearly could not have had a criminal history. [11633/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Government has appointed Seán Guerin SC to conduct an independent inquiry into certain allegations made by Garda Sergeant Maurice McCabe. The Government also, on the advice of the Attorney General, agreed the Terms of Reference for the inquiry, and there are no proposals to amend these.

Personal Insolvency Act

Ceisteanna (408)

John Browne

Ceist:

408. Deputy John Browne asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason debt solution processes are not more effectively geared towards avoiding the repossession route and the costs involved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11644/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The personal insolvency arrangement provided for in the Personal Insolvency Act 2012 is specifically geared towards avoiding repossession, where possible. Furthermore, the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2013 prescribes that in any repossession proceedings concerning a borrower's principal residence, the Court may adjourn the proceedings so that a personal insolvency arrangement may be explored as an alternative to repossession. This protective measure is of great importance to mortgage holders struggling under the burden of unsustainable debt. Lending institutions will not be allowed to proceed directly to the repossession stage without first engaging in good faith in the alternative measures provided for in the Personal Insolvency Act 2012.

I understand that this is also reflected in the Central Bank's Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears which came into effect from 1 July 2013 and sets out requirements for mortgage lenders dealing with borrowers who are facing or are already in mortgage arrears. Cooperating borrowers must now be given at least eight months, from the date arrears first arise, before legal action can commence and at the end of the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process lenders will be required to provide a newly introduced three-month notice period to allow borrowers to consider their options, such as voluntary surrender or an arrangement under the Personal Insolvency Act, before legal action can commence.

With regard to costs of the various debt solution processes, the application fees prescribed by the Insolvency Service of Ireland are as follows:

- application for a Debt Relief Notice: €100;

- application for a Debt Settlement Arrangement: €250;

- application for a Personal Insolvency Arrangement: €500;

- application fee for bankruptcy: €650.

Insofar as practitioner fees associated with the development of debt settlement arrangements and personal insolvency arrangements are concerned, these fees will be negotiated with an individual debtor by the Personal Insolvency Practitioner in advance of a case proceeding and will be deducted from the amount of money an individual debtor is calculated as having available to pay their creditors during the term of the arrangement.

Garda Training

Ceisteanna (409)

Dan Neville

Ceist:

409. Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on whether there is a need for the Garda to have policy procedures and training in place to deal with suicidal persons; if this training is compulsory; the number of gardaí that have taken up the training; if he will consider requesting that all gardaí would take up the relevant training to deal with persons who are suicidal considering the unfortunate high level of suicide in these times. [11659/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that during their training, all Student/Probationer Gardaí received instruction on the issue of suicide.

Historically, instruction was given to Student Gardaí which included an overview of suicide, suicide statistics, parasuicide, deliberate self-harm, bullying, prisoners etc. This instruction was given to prepare Student Gardaí for dealing with such occurrences on other phases of their training. The new training programme in which new recruits will be taking part, includes a two-day internationally recognised ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) suicide prevention programme which will be co-delivered with the Health Service Executive (HSE). There are currently three staff members trained as ASIST trainers and the programme will be co-facilitated with HSE staff. The ASIST programme is a suicide first aid programme which equips students with the skills required to discuss suicide with a person at risk and to make an intervention to reduce the immediate risk of suicide.

In addition to the foregoing, 35 Gardaí have been trained in ASIST community workshops which have taken place in the Garda College since 2011, co-facilitated by HSE staff. ASIST workshops also take place throughout the country with Divisional participation.

Garda Horses

Ceisteanna (410)

Seán Kenny

Ceist:

410. Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of horses withdrawn from the Garda mounted unit in 2012 and 2013; if the mounted unit will receive new horses this year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11687/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The provision and deployment of Garda resources, including specialist units, is a matter for the Garda Commissioner. In that context, I am advised by the Garda authorities that there are currently 13 horses attached to the Garda Mounted Unit. Two horses were retired in 2012 and one was withdrawn from service in 2013. I am also informed that the allocation of further resources to the Garda Mounted Unit will be kept under ongoing review in the context of An Garda Síochána's operational requirements.

Residential Institutions

Ceisteanna (411)

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

411. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will support a project (details supplied) in respect of a children's home memorial in County Galway. [11740/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The project to which the Deputy refers does not come under the remit of my Department. I understand that the project is in respect of a former maternity home and the Deputy may wish to raise this matter with the Department of Health.

Firearms Licences

Ceisteanna (412, 432)

Michael Lowry

Ceist:

412. Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Justice and Equality in view of recent reports, if he is examining proposals at present to increase the restrictions on handgun ownership; the current status of these proposals; if he will provide an assurance that any new regulations will not impact on game hunters; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11751/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Billy Timmins

Ceist:

432. Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he has received representations seeking the withdrawal of certain firearms from licensing, and if so, what these proposals are; if he will provide an opportunity to the tourism industry and gun clubs to make a submission on these; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12145/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 412 and 432 together.

In relation to possible changes to firearms licensing I refer the Deputies to my reply to questions 8957/14, 9245/14 and 9736/14 of 25 February 2014 and to questions 10365/14 and 10999/14 of 4 March . The position is unchanged since then.

Reply to questions 8957/14, 9245/14 & 9736/14 of 25 February 2014 and questions 10365/14 & 10999/14 of 4 March:

In light of public safety concerns highlighted by the Garda Commissioner and difficulties in the interpretation of the legislation expressed by members of the judiciary, my Department is examining key issues relating to firearms licensing in conjunction with An Garda Síochána. Recommendations are currently being finalised and I expect to receive a report in due course. No decisions will be made in advance of consideration of these recommendations. Opportunities for consultation with relevant stakeholders will be explored when work on the proposals is further advanced.

Asylum Seeker Accommodation

Ceisteanna (413)

Jerry Buttimer

Ceist:

413. Deputy Jerry Buttimer asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to facilitate asylum seekers who have been in the country for a significant number of years to move out of direct provision centres; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11801/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) of my Department is responsible for the accommodation of asylum seekers in accordance with the Government policy of direct provision and dispersal. Details of the duration of stay by residents in asylum accommodation centres are shown in RIA's monthly reports published on its website - www.ria.gov.ie. The latest published report is December, 2013. At the end of 2013, RIA was accommodating 4,360 persons, a decrease of 481 residents (10%) over 2012. This was the 5th straight decline in a row. There has been an overall decline of 37% (2,642 persons) in the period end December 2008 to end December 2013 in the numbers being accommodated by RIA.

The Direct Provision system facilitates the State in providing full board accommodation for those seeking protection or the right to remain in the State. It allows the State to do so in a manner that facilitates resources being used economically in circumstances where the State is in financial difficulty. There are no workable cheaper alternatives to the direct provision system. A key finding in the 2010 Value for Money Report on the Direct Provision system was that if we were operating a system which facilitated asylum seekers in living independent lives in individual housing with associated social welfare payments, aside from the asylum 'pull factor' towards the State it would clearly create, the cost to the exchequer could be double what is currently paid under the direct provision system.

I remain committed to reducing the time persons spend in the direct provision system. The asylum system is in need of reform if we are to achieve this. Work is at an advanced stage for the re-introduction to the Oireachtas of a revised Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill. This is pursuant to the current Government policy of reform in this area, which will include a statutory appeals system and set out rights and obligations in a transparent way.

The new legislation should substantially simplify and streamline the existing arrangements for asylum, subsidiary protection and leave to remain applications. It will do this by making provision for the establishment of a single application procedure, so that applicants can be provided with a final decision on all aspects of their protection application in a more straight forward and timely fashion. In advance of the enactment and commencement of the new legislation and with a view to improving processing in the area of international protection, new arrangements have already been introduced for the processing of subsidiary protection applications in light of recent judgments in the Superior Courts.

Garda Transport Data

Ceisteanna (414)

Noel Grealish

Ceist:

414. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 534 of 25 February 2014, the actual number of Garda cars that will be provided in 2014 for the Galway west division; the timeframe for the replacement of all cars in the Galway west division to bring the number of cars in active service up to the acceptable standard of 77, which is the number of cars in active service in 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11811/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

Decisions in relation to the provision and allocation of Garda vehicles are a matter for the Garda Commissioner in the light of his identified operational demands and the availability of resources.

As the Deputy will be aware, I recently secured a further €9m for investment in the Garda fleet which resulted in the purchase of 305 Garda vehicles towards the end of 2013, at a cost of €5 million. In this context I am advised that the new vehicles are currently being rolled out and that 38 of them will be deployed to the Western Region, which includes the Galway Division. More specific details in relation to the allocation of the vehicles are not currently available and the remaining €4 million has been provided for the purchase and fit out of additional Garda transport in 2014.

The most recent investment in Garda transport will bring to €18m the total amount spent on the Garda fleet for the three years 2012 to 2014. This represents a very considerable financial investment in Garda transport, particularly at a time when the level of funding available across the public sector is severely limited. It is a clear indication of my commitment to ensure that, to the greatest extent possible, An Garda Síochána are provided with sufficient resources to enable them to deliver an effective and efficient policing service.

Garda Vetting of Personnel

Ceisteanna (415)

Tony McLoughlin

Ceist:

415. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he is prepared to give consideration to a change to the current Garda vetting system whereby if a member of the public is charged with an offence and this charge is struck out, withdrawn or section 11 of the Probation Act is imposed by the District Court this offence still remains on the Garda PULSE system resulting in some cases in having a long-term effect on an individual seeking employment opportunities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11813/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

Elements of the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 relating to the disclosure of convictions are under review at present having regard to a recent judgment of the UK Court of Appeal in (On the Application of) T and others v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester [2013]. The UK Court considered the circumstances in which it is appropriate to disclose convictions for old, minor offences with particular regard to Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Having considered the judgement in that case, I intend bringing proposals before the Oireachtas to provide that certain old minor convictions will not be disclosed under the provisions of the 2012 Act. Given the close relationship between this Act and the Spent Convictions Bill, which is before the Oireachtas at the moment, any changes to the Vetting Act will have to be reflected in the Spent Convictions Bill. The amendment of the Vetting Act will also be done via the Spent Convictions Bill.

The National Vetting Bureau (Children & Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 also sets out procedures to allow the disclosure of “Specified information”. This is information other than a criminal conviction record. For example, “specified information” could include details of offences which have been struck out, withdrawn or where the Probation Act has been applied by the court. Such information could only be disclosed if the information provides a bona-fide reason to believe that the person would pose a threat of harm to a child or vulnerable adult. The Act also provides that a disclosure of such information must be assessed for its reliability and relevance, and the disclosure must be in accordance with principles of natural justice. For example, if a person had been charged with an offence of assault or sexual assault, but the Probation Act provisions were applied, then that information could be considered for disclosure. The procedures set out in the Act are designed to ensure that the human rights of the person being vetted are adequately protected. It is important to note that before specified information can be disclosed, the person who is the subject of the information must be given a copy of that information and must be given the opportunity to challenge the proposed disclosure. The Act provides for the appointment of an independent Appeals Officer who will be responsible for assessing and deciding appeals against the proposed disclosure of specified information. The Act also provides that a decision of an Appeals Officer may be appealed to the High Court, on a point of law.

I expect to be in a position to commence the provisions of the 2012 Act in the autumn of 2014. In the meantime, the vetting of persons working with children and vulnerable persons continues to be done on a non-statutory basis.

Illicit Trade in Tobacco

Ceisteanna (416)

Anthony Lawlor

Ceist:

416. Deputy Anthony Lawlor asked the Minister for Justice and Equality in view of proposals to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes, if he envisages increased co-operation between the Customs Service of the Revenue Commissioners and An Garda Síochána to deal with the illegal tobacco industry; if he expects there to be an increase in the number of searches undertaken by An Garda Síochána as part of intelligence-led operations led by the Revenue Commissioners in such activities, taking into consideration the concerns of retailers that plain packaging will result in an increase in the illegal tobacco trade; if An Garda Síochána will place greater emphasis, on a district and divisional level, on targeting those involved in the sale and distribution of illegal products, at markets and via door-to-door sales; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11843/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, the lead role in investigating the illegal trade in tobacco rests with Revenue's Customs Service in the context of preventing financial losses to the national exchequer due to the avoidance of the payment of excise duties.

There is a close working relationship in place between the Customs Service of the Revenue Commissioners and An Garda Síochána in tackling this form of criminality. An Garda Síochána provides ongoing support to the Revenue Customs Service and searches are regularly undertaken by the Gardaí as part of intelligence-led operations led by the Revenue Customs Service. An Garda Síochána also continue, on district and divisional levels to target those involved in the sale and distribution of illegal products, at markets and via door-to-door sales.

In addition, the Criminal Assets Bureau continues to actively participate in the Cross Border Tobacco Enforcement Group which was established in May 2010. This group also includes representatives from the Revenue Commissioners, the Police Service of Northern Ireland and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. With regard to the operational details of the support provided by An Garda Síochána to the Revenue Customs Service, the Deputy will appreciate that this is a matter for the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for the detailed allocation of resources to address policing needs as they arise.

In relation to proposals contained in the Public Health (Standardised Packaging of Tobacco) Bill, the Deputy will be aware that there has been much speculation with regard to the possible adverse implications for law enforcement. These concerns were addressed by both the Revenue Commissioners and An Garda Síochána at the recent debate on the proposed legislation at the meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children on 21 January 2014. I can assure the Deputy that the illicit tobacco environment will continue to be monitored closely by our law enforcement authorities.

UN Conventions Ratification

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.