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Convention on the rights of people with disabilities

The senate debated the failure of Ireland so far to ratify the United Nations Convention on the rights of people with disabilities (Seanad Eireann, Debates, 1st December 2010, 168 – 172).  Fidelma Healy Eames (FG, labour) noted that Ireland was among the first group of countries to sign the convention when it opened for signature on 30th March 2007.  The convention had come into force on 3rd May 2008 and so far 98 countries had ratified it, but not Ireland.

Responding for the government, the Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children John Moloney told her that it was the government’s intention to ratify the convention as quickly as possible.  Ireland did not ratify treaties until it was formally in a position to comply with their obligations, including amending domestic legislation where necessary.  One of the key legislative requirements identified by the inter-departmental committee was the introduction of mental capacity legislation and it was his intention to drive that legislation forward.  It was intended that the mental capacity Bill be published during the current parliamentary session.  While Ireland had not yet ratified the convention, the national disability strategy and the work of the interdepartmental committee had ensured considerable, on-going progress.  The actual implementation of the convention would be well advanced by the time formal ratification had been completed.  He would ensure the legislation was published before the end of the session.

Fidelma Healy Eames complained that she had still not been provided with concrete dates, but the minister responded by saying that he had no intention of ‘playing some sort of get-out-of-jail-free card’.
> See also: Dail Eireann, Debates, 23rd November 2010, 913-4.
> No to idea of ombudsman for people with disabilities: Dail Eireann, Debates, 23rd November 2010, 914.