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Question

104. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality with reference to the pledges and commitments provided by the Irish Government during the election to the United Nations Human Rights Council (details supplied), in which the Government committed to the expeditious ratification the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, if her Department had assessed the legal complications in ratifying the convention at the time of the provision of these commitments; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16025/15]

Answer

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin): The Government has given a firm commitment to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and intends to proceed to ratification as quickly as possible, taking into account the need to ensure all necessary legislative and administrative requirements under the Convention are met. As the Deputy is aware, Ireland has a dualist legal system and therefore does not become party to treaties until it is first in a position to comply with the obligations imposed by them, including the amendment of domestic law as necessary. Before making any pledges and commitments to the United Nations, the Department of Justice and Equality naturally examines all the potential issues relevant to our remit. We remain committed to ratification of this important Convention and are determined to take the steps necessary to meet all the CRPD's requirements in a constructive, proactive and appropriate manner.
A team has been charged with examining all outstanding obstacles to ratification, and has nearly completed the first phase of its work, which includes identifying all areas which will need attention to make ratification possible. An Interdepartmental Committee is in place to review issues and the actions and timeframe required to tackle them. Many of these issues involve amending unsuitable and outmoded language and in some cases, archaic legal provisions, in existing legislation. Another key task which is underway involves examining how the important issue of Reasonable Accommodation can be achieved in a meaningful way within our Constitutional framework as interpreted by the Supreme Court.
Progress towards ratification therefore continues to be made and much has been accomplished since the communication to the President of the UN General Assembly dated 13 April 2012 to which the Deputy referred. One of the core obstacles to Ireland's ratification of the Convention is the requirement for enactment of capacity legislation. The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill, published on 17 July 2013, provides a series of options to support people with impaired capacity to make decisions and exercise their basic rights in line with the principles of the UN Convention. It undertakes a comprehensive reform of existing legislation governing capacity. The Bill is currently awaiting Committee Stage in the Dáil.