The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose, and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.
As the first part of the question relates to a service matter I have asked the HSE to reply directly to the Deputy.
In relation to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), Ireland has now ratified the Convention which came in to force for Ireland on 19 April 2018. The Government’s approach to meeting the terms of the Convention is one of sustained and ongoing improvement. Work is continuing on the reforms needed for an optimum level of compliance with the convention's requirements.
The Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016, which includes a series of provisions to ensure that the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is fully implemented, completed Committee Stage on 30 January 2019. The Disability Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2016 includes provisions to establish the monitoring framework required by Article 33 of the Convention to promote, protect and monitor implementation of the UNCRPD. It requires the involvement and participation of civil society, in particular, persons with disabilities, in the monitoring process.
The monitoring framework will include both the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) and the National Disability Authority (NDA) and will be governed by a formal Memorandum of Understanding. The IHREC Act 2014 was designed to ensure that IHREC, as Ireland’s National Human Rights Institution, fully meets the standard of independence in accordance with the Paris Principles, and is best placed to make periodic independent reports to the UN, supported by progress assessments and statistical information supplied by the NDA. The NDA has expertise and information resources in relation to reporting on disability issues.
The Equality Division in the Department of Justice and Equality will be the designated focal point as it has policy responsibility for the equality aspects of disability matters. The Division already provides the Secretariat to the National Disability Strategy Implementation Group (NDSIG) where the UNCRPD will be discussed regularly.
The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 provides for the establishment of new administrative processes and support measures, including the setting up of the Decision Support Service within the Mental Health Commission. The Decision Support Service is working towards being operational and ready for the commencement of the main provisions of the Act in 2020. This lead in timeframe ensures that the necessary staff resources, processes, IT system, expert panels, codes of practice and regulations will be in place so that the Decision Support Service will have the capacity to be up and running effectively.