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Adams criticises Government inaction on new law for citizens with impaired mental capacity

10 February, 2015 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD accused the government of a “serious lack of action in pushing ahead with its Assisted Decision-Making Capacity Bill 2013”.

Mr. Adams said: “This Bill was published 20 months ago and has seen no progress December 2013. The government is dragging its feet on this very important legislation.”

Speaking after raising the issue during Order of Business in the Dáil today Gerry Adams said:

“The Assisted Decision-Making Capacity Bill 2013 is intended to update and reform our outdated law governing decision-making by people whose mental capacity may be impaired. It is also intended to replace the Lunacy Regulations Act of 1871 which much of our current system is based on.

“This is a hugely important issue. Its significance was underlined with the allegations of abuse in the Áras Attracta home last December. Much of the focus arising from that controversy focussed on the need for monitoring of care situations. However that is not always possible or indeed desirable.

“What is needed is a clear legal framework which guarantees that citizens with impaired mental capacity have rights. The 2013 Bill would bring this state into greater agreement with international best practice, especially the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It includes a presumption of capacity and that interventions must minimise any restriction of rights.

“This is a very important piece of legislation. However there has been no progress by the government in bringing it to a legislative conclusion.

“The Bill was introduced 20 months ago in July 2013. It passed second stage on December 11 2013 and went to Committee on December 12 2013. It has never been discussed nor have any amendments been taken.

The Taoiseach failed to give any certainty today about when the Bill will finally be discussed in the Committee stage. This is unacceptable. The government has a responsibility to break the political log-jam.”

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