141. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she will report on the ratification by the State of the UN Convention on the rights of people with disabilities; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20220/15]
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. We are determined to take the steps necessary to meet all the convention's requirements in a constructive, proactive and appropriate manner. I should stress that for Ireland, ratification is the end of the preparation and implementation phase, not the beginning.
A team within my Department 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. 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.