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Sinn Féin amendments to Disability Bill to make it rights-based

18 May, 2005


Sinn Féin has put forward a number of significant amendments to the Disability Bill, which will have the effect of making it rights-based legislation, consistent with the recommendations of the Disability Legislation Consultation Group and the 1996 report of the Commission on the Status of People with Disabilities.

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Equality and Human Rights Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD said

"Since the Government has made an atrocious mess of this Bill yet again, having refused to heed the just demands of people with disabilities, their families and their representative groups, the aim of our amendments is to correct for the ten fundamental flaws identified by the Disability Legislation Consultation Group, and to bring the legislation into line with their considered recommendations and those of the Commission on the Status of People with Disabilities.

"While there is consensus between the opposition parties on a number of key issues, Sinn Féin is the only party to propose amendments adopting the recommendations to establish an independent Disability Support Service and to impose a statutory duty on all bodies providing public services and operating public buildings to promote equality for people with disabilities, in addition to their obligation not to discriminate against them.

"In the latter case, we will argue that it is incumbent on the Government, who has an obligation under the Good Friday Agreement to introduce legislation equivalent to Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 which imposes a statutory duty.

"The Sinn Féin amendments reflect our commitment to introduce rights-based disability legislation consistent with our amendments at a future date in Government." ENDS

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