130. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality her plans to ratify the optional protocol to the convention against torture. [12642/16]


Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Ireland is a signatory to the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment and Punishment and will ratify it, once the necessary legislation is in place to provide for National Preventative Mechanisms (NPMs) to inspect places of detention for the purposes of the protocol.
A process of consultation with civil society, including a wide range of statutory bodies and agencies, non governmental organisations and academics with an interest in the topic has been commenced. An Open Policy Debate hosted by the Department of Justice and Equality in November 2015 provided an opportunity for the various parties to come together and discuss options for NPMs. Building on this, proposals are being further developed to facilitate the ratification of the OPCAT.