Sinn Féin’s Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has called for disabled adults to be treated equally before the law and to be afforded the same as everyone else. Speaking during the debate on the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2014, Senator Ó Clochartaigh said:
“Today’s bill finally gives disabled adults the same right as everyone else in society to determine the nature of the close relationships they choose to engage in.
“The Bill is about respecting the autonomy of consenting adults to make their own decisions in relation to the most intimate aspect of their lives.
“Sinn Féin believes disabled people should have the right to make choices about their life and to be consulted, heard and resourced in all matters affecting them.
“They should be protected against all exploitation, all regulations and all treatment of a discriminatory, abusive or degrading nature.
“This Bill will repeal the existing law which is discriminatory in that it criminalizes sexual activity of people who are mentally impaired unless they are married to one another.
“Here in this State a person’s mental capacity or decision-making skills are often used to restrict or deny their legal capacity.
“This disproportionately affects people with disabilities, whose mental capacity is more likely to be questioned than that of non-disabled people.
“Sinn Féin welcomes today’s Bill which gives differently abled adults the same rights as everyone else and brings an end to a discriminatory practice.”