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Question

316. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the legislative changes necessary to ensure the ratification and implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6627/16]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): On 21 October 2015, I published a roadmap to Ireland’s ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which outlines the considerable legislative changes to be undertaken to enable Ireland to ratify the Convention, along with the estimated deadline of end-2016 for ratification. The Roadmap to Ratification, which is available on my Department’s website, sets out the substantial legislative agenda required for ratification.
Considerable progress has already been made to overcome the barriers to Ireland’s ratification as identified in the Roadmap. The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 was signed into law on 30 December 2015, and is a comprehensive reform of the law on decision-making capacity. The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2015 was passed by the Seanad on 26 January this year. When enacted, the Bill will reform Section 5 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 1993 to facilitate the full participation in family life of persons with intellectual disabilities and the full expression of their human rights. Achieving the necessary balance between those rights and ensuring appropriate protection is crucial.
Work is also under way on drawing up an Equality Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill to progress miscellaneous legislative amendments necessary to proceed to ratification. It is intended that the Bill will address issues such as the Convention's requirements in relation to reasonable accommodation and deprivation of liberty, as well as removing archaic references in existing legislation relating to mental health. The Bill will also amend section 4 of the Criminal Law (Insanity) Act 2006 to provide that in particular circumstances, the District Court will have jurisdiction to determine whether the accused person is fit to be tried, and it will provide for national mechanisms to promote, protect and monitor implementation of the Convention.