326. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when she will ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6766/16]
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 barriers to Ireland’s ratification. 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 people 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.