11 August 2017
The Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality, David Stanton TD has welcomed the UN Expert Committee’s (UNCAT) concluding observations on the second periodic report of Ireland, following Ireland’s recent appearance before the Committee on 27 & 28 July.
Minister Stanton said, “I welcome the concluding observations of the UN Expert Committee (UNCAT) which acknowledge the progress made and notes the many positive measures adopted by Ireland since the submission of Ireland’s second report.”
Minister Stanton noted that the Committee acknowledged the adoption of 30 positive measures of progress by Ireland. Minister Stanton also acknowledged the principal subjects of concern and the Committee’s recommendations and noted that Ireland is making steady progress in addressing many of the issues raised.
The Minister of State said, “I thank the Committee for their positive engagement with Ireland and for their current observations and recommendations. We look forward to building on the progress made and to updating the Committee with further progress next year.”
Note for Editors
The UN Expert Committee’s (UNCAT) concluding observations on the second periodic report of Ireland, acknowledged the adoption by Ireland of the following positive measures:
· Ireland’s accession to and ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure in September 2014;
· The adoption of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) Act 2014 and the merger of the Human Rights Commission and the Equality Authority to create the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission as Ireland’s national human rights institution, on 1 November 2014;
· The adoption of the Criminal Justice (Community Service) (Amendment) Act, providing, inter alia, for community service as an alternative to imprisonment, on 1 October 2011;
· The enactment of the Fines (Payments and Recovery Act) 2014;
· The implementation of the Community Return Programme providing for earned and early temporary release in return for supervised community service,
· The adoption of the Children (Amendment) Act 2015, repealing legislation that permitted the committal of children to adult prison facilities; and the enactment of the remaining provisions of the 2015 Prisons Act which provided for the closure of St. Patrick’s Institution for the detention of juveniles, following the signing of Ministerial Orders, on 30 March 2017 & 7 April 2017;
· The publication of the Report of the Commission of Investigation into the death of Gary Douch, on 1 May 2014 and the submission of the Implementation Plan to the Ministers in September 2014;
· The development of the Travellers in Prison Initiative (TPI);
· The launching of the Irish Prison Service Strategic Plan 2016-2018 envisaging the elimination of “slopping out” and the modernisation of Limerick Prison and “Block E” of Portlaoise Prison;
· The adoption of the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act 2012 to support the needs of survivors of residential institutional abuse.
· The publication of the report of the Inter-Departmental Committee to establish the facts of State involvement with the Magdalen Laundries, known as the McAleese Report, on 5 February 2013;
· The apology by the Prime Minister of Ireland (Taoiseach) Mr. Enda Kenny to the survivors of residential institutional abuse made in Parliament (Dail), on 19 February 2013;
· The establishment of the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund (Caranua), in March 2013;
· The publication of the Report of Mr. Justice John Quirke on the establishment of an ex gratia Scheme for the benefit of women who were admitted to and worked in the Magdalen Laundries, in May 2013;
· The establishment of the Commission of Investigation into the Mother and Baby Homes and Certain Related Matters, in February 2015;
· The adoption of the Redress for Women Resident in Certain Institutions Act 2015, providing health services free of charge to former Magdalene women, from 1 July 2015;
· The rolling out of Garda Victim Service Offices to 28 Garda Divisions, in 2015;
· The launching on 20 January 2016 of the National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence 2016-2021;
· The establishment of the Citizens’ Assembly to consider a number of issues, including abortion laws, in 2016;
· The adoption of the Criminal Justice (Female Genital Mutilation) Act, on 2 April 2012; and the Criminal Justice (Withholding of Information on Offences Against Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act, which entered into force in August 2012;
· The adoption of the Child and Family Agency Act, regarding protection and welfare services, in 2013;
· The establishment of the Child and Family Agency (TUSLA), on 1 January 2014; and
· The adoption of the Children First Act 2015;
· The adoption of the International Protection Act 2015, replacing the Refugee Act 1996;
· The introduction of Immigration Guidelines for Victims of Domestic Violence by the Irish Naturalization and Immigration Service, in 2012;
· The adoption of the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 which enables members of the Garda Síochána to make disclosures to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC);
· The Garda Síochána Amendment Act 2015 expanding the remit and powers of the GSOC;
· The adoption of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act, in 2015.
· The Committee welcomes the standing invitation extended by Ireland to all thematic United Nations special procedures mandate holders.