Disabilities Minister would ratify UN convention 'tomorrow morning' if given opportunity

Finian McGrath says it's important to get new laws right as "rushed legislation is often bad legislation"

Disabilities Minister would ratify UN convention 'tomorrow morning' if given opportunity

Finian McGrath. Image: Sam Boal / RollingNews.ie

Finian McGrath, Minister with Responsibility for Disabilities, says he will present draft legislation to Cabinet this week which will put Ireland a step closer to ratifying the UN disability rights treaty.

We are currently the only EU country not to have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, despite having signed it back in 2007.

Junior Minister McGrath will ask his colleagues to approve publication of provisions on 'deprivation of liberty' - which he described as a 'slow, legal and complex' issue - for public consultation.

Those provisions aim to provide safeguards for older people, persons with a disability and some people with mental health illness "to ensure that they are not unlawfully deprived of their liberty in residential facilities".

Speaking on On The Record earlier, Junior Minister McGrath explained why the deprivation of liberty measure is so important.

He said: "This will have an impact on the capacity side in relation to people with intellectual disabilities who are in institutions - but also, in the broader society, senior citizens who have Alzheimer's or dementia or issues like that."

He says it's essential to get it right as new arrangements will impact many families & individuals.

The Independent Alliance minister acknowledged that while he would ratify the convention 'tomorrow morning', he must convince his Cabinet colleagues and affected groups that they can finally push the legislation over the line.

He explained: "We don't want to end up in the courts. The legislation at the moment... the drafts that I have at the moment [...] I'm very confident that we're there.

"I want to ensure that I bring people with me, rather than finding out in the New Year that something was wrong. Rushed legislation is often bad legislation."

Finian McGrath was speaking on International Day of Persons with Disabilities, and you can listen to his full interview below: