19 January 2017
The Minister of State for Disability Finian McGrath TD, today announced that the Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016 will be presented to the Dáil for Second Stage on 7 and 8 February. The primary purpose of the Bill is to address the remaining legislative barriers to Ireland’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD).
Speaking on the issues that this Bill addresses, Minister McGrath stated
“Considerable progress has already been made to overcoming the barriers to Ireland's ratification of the Convention. The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 will when commenced represent a comprehensive reform of the law on decision-making capacity. Work is underway in the Attorney General’s Office on a number of additional issues that will be addressed in the Bill as Committee Stage amendments and in the Department of Health on legislative proposals in relation to meeting the Convention’s requirement on deprivation of liberty”
Work is ongoing on all these other issues as set out in the previous Government’s Roadmap for Ratification published in October 2015 and these will be progressed as Committee Stage amendments.
The Bill will be progressed to enactment at an early date to facilitate ratification of the UN Convention as soon as possible, and as soon as arrangements are sufficiently advanced for the key elements of the new assisted decision-making arrangements provided for in the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015, as well as the proposed deprivation of liberty provisions, to be scheduled to come into effect.
Note to Editors
Amongst the main provisions of the Bill which was published prior to Christmas are:
Amendment of the Juries Act 1976 so that a person who is deaf shall not be ineligible for jury service by reason only of his or her requiring the services of a sign language interpreter. The existing prohibition on a person who has a mental illness or disability, and is receiving medical treatment or is resident in a hospital or similar institution, from serving as a juror is replaced with a functional capacity test which will provide that a person must have the mental and intellectual capacity to serve as a juror.
Amendment of the Electoral Act 1992 to repeal the prohibition on a person of ‘unsound mind’ from standing for election to the Dáil (and thereby removing the disqualifications for membership of the Seanad and for election to the European Parliament also).
National Disability Authority (NDA) and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission to have formal roles as part of Ireland’s national monitoring mechanism for the Convention
The UN CRPD provides that reasonable accommodation (i.e. practical help to ensure that the person with a disability can, for example, access a service) be provided for people with disabilities in the areas of employment and provision of services, The Bill will strengthen the rights of people with disabilities in that regard in relation to public services and services provided by commercial bodies whose activities are regulated for quality of service, viz. banks, insurance companies, telecommunications and transport providers, and credit unions.