22. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when he plans to ratify the optional protocol to the UN convention against torture; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20942/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Deputy is aware that Ireland signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) but has yet to ratify this instrument. Ireland has of course already signed and ratified the Convention itself.
The Protocol is preventive in nature. It provides for the establishment of National Preventive Mechanisms which would inspect facilities where persons can be held involuntarily.
While my Department is drafting the General Scheme of the legislation to enable the Protocol to be ratified, consultation has been necessary with a wide range of stakeholders, as the Protocol impacts on a number of sectors.
These consultations have assisted my Department in the work of drafting the General Scheme. As part of that work, my Department are continuing to liaise with key stakeholders, for example with the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission in relation to the contribution they might be able to make to the proposed model of National Preventive Mechanisms.
When this draft scheme is completed, it will be circulated to stakeholders for their comments, before submission to Government for approval, and transmission to the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel for formal drafting this year.