Department of Justice publishes “roadmap” to ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald TD, and the Minister for Equality, Aodhán O’Ríordáin TD, yesterday published a roadmap to the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in Ireland, which is now expected in 2017.

The UNCRPD is an international human rights treaty which promotes and protects the rights, dignity and equality of people with disabilities.  Ireland signed the Convention when it opened for signature in 2007, but remains one of only three European Union (EU) countries not to have ratified it.

The roadmap outlines changes to be made to legislation in Ireland to enable the ratification of the Convention and the estimated time-frame needed to do so.  Along with this, an omnibus bill which aims to pass through assorted legal changes  – the Equality/Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill – will be published by the end of this year, and will be due for enactment by the end of 2016.

The legal changes outlined affect areas such as decision-making capacity, reasonable accommodation, mental health legislation, the administration of electro-convulsive therapy (ECT), criminal law, offensive references to people with disabilities and mental health conditions across existing legislation, and more.  These will require the enactment of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill 2013 and the Equality/Disability (Miscellenaeous Provisions) Bill.  Amendments to the Equal Status Acts, the Criminal Law (Insanity) Act, the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 1993, the Mental Health Act 2001, the Companies Act 2014, and the Juries Act 1976 will also be needed.

With these enactments and amendments scheduled for the end of 2016, the ratification of the UNCRPD can be expected for sometime in 2017, ten years after Ireland signed the Convention.

Click here to read the roadmap and a statement from the Department of Justice.

To read the UNCRPD in full, please click here.