There can be no ambiguity on the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities – Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD
Today’s speculation which has arisen that the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities will not be ratified until April 2020 at the earliest needs to be addressed by the Fine Gael led Government and Independent Alliance Minister Finian Mc Grath immediately.
Responding directly, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Disability Rights and Chair of the Committee on Justice and Equality Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said;
“The uncertainty and speculation around this essential mechanism for Persons with Disabilities needs to end now.
“On June 27th at the Justice Committee, Minister of State for Disability Issues Finian Mc Grath publicly stated that ‘the optional protocol will be ratified as soon as possible following completion of Ireland's first reporting cycle’.
“Fianna Fáil are now speculating that this date will be April 2020 at the earliest. This commentary is unhelpful and particularly when Fianna Fáil originally signed up to the Convention in 2007 and then sat on their hands in Government for a further four years without ratifying it.
“I understand that a number of pieces of legislation need to be amended in order to fully comply with the rights provided for in the UN Convention namely the Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill and the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity)Act 2015. These are complex pieces of legislation which we need to get right.
“I am therefore calling on the Government, as I have at committee and in Dáil debates, to absolutely prioritise this legislation upon resumption of the Dáil in September.
“In the meantime, Disability Rights organisations along with ourselves in opposition need to hold this Government to account, keep the pressure on to deliver and finally to get Government to respect the place of Persons with Disabilities in our society.
“There is no better place to begin this process than with a significant investment in Budget 2019 for the Disability Sector. This would be a true stepping stone towards the delivery of the rights contained in the Convention and a real sign of progress towards the ratification of the Optional Protocol at the earliest possible date” concluded Deputy Ó Caoláin.