Filter

Question

148. Deputy Colm Keaveney asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the legal advice given regarding Article 27 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that necessitates a reservation, as signalled in her Department's roadmap to ratification of the convention; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42003/15]

Answer

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin): Article 27(1) of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities prohibits:


    “...discrimination on the basis of disability with regard to all matters concerning all forms of employment, including conditions of recruitment, hiring and employment, continuance of employment, career advancement and safe and healthy working conditions;”.
Article 27 of the Convention is not consistent with Article 3(4) of Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000, the EU Framework Employment Directive, which provides that:
    “Member States may provide that this Directive, in so far as it relates to discrimination on the grounds of disability and age, shall not apply to the armed forces.”
Having regard to the specific nature of the occupations in question, section 37(6) of the Employment Equality Act, as amended, provides:
    “In relation to discrimination on the age ground or the disability ground, nothing in this Part or Part II applies to employment—
          (a) in the Defence Forces,
          (b) in the Garda Síochána, or
          (c) in the prison service.”
Other EU Member States have entered reservations to Article 27(1) of the Convention. The United Kingdom asserts that the prohibition shall not apply to the admission into or service in any of its naval, military or armed forces. Slovakia’s reservation, along with the armed services, also includes armed security forces, armed corps, the National Security Office, the Slovak Information Service and the Fire and Rescue Corps. In their reservations, Greece and Cyprus cite Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000. The EU, which ratified the CRPD on 23 December 2010, entered a reservation to Article 27(1), stating that pursuant to Council Directive 2000/78/EC, Member States may enter their own reservations to the extent that the Council Directive provides them with the right to exclude non-discrimination on the grounds of disability with respect to employment in the armed forces from the scope of the Directive.
It is therefore proposed that Ireland follow suit and enter a reservation to Article 27(1) in relation to employment in the Defence Forces, in An Garda Síochána, and in the prison service, as provided in section 37(6) of the Employment Equality Act.