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Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall TD today rebuked the Taoiseach for continuing to deny promised rights to people with disabilities.

Deputy Shortall made her comments after the Taoiseach refused, in response to her questions in the Dáil, to commit to the immediate implementation of a crucial part of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.

Deputy Shortall said:

“It is incredibly disappointing that the Taoiseach today continued to deny promised rights to 640,000 people with disabilities. It is bad enough that the current ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has taken place eleven years after the convention was signed.

“The failure by government to at the same time ratify the accompanying Optional Protocol – as had been promised and widely expected – makes this convention toothless. What it means is that people with disabilities will be denied access to the complaints mechanisms of the Convention.”

Deputy Shortall added:

“The whole purpose of the Optional Protocol is to enable people to make complaints to a recognised UN body where their rights under the Convention have been violated. Without it, it is not possible for people to vindicate their rights and ensure that the government lives up to its responsibilities.

“If the government was serious about supporting people with disabilities to be full and active citizens, then it would have nothing to fear from adopting the protocol. The Taoiseach’s excuse for not adopting this protocol is that we first need a cultural change in relation to disability rights. This adds insult to injury. Surely the best way of achieving that is to make the Convention enforceable for people who need it?

“This Convention as it applies to Ireland will take effect next month – but people with disabilities face waiting countless more years before a decision on the ratification of the Optional Protocol is made.”


27 March 2018

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