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20.52 7 Mar 2018


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The Dáil has approved the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

The UN treaty is designed to ensure people with disabilities have equal rights in all areas of life.

Ireland signed the agreement back in 2007.

However, we are currently the only EU country not to have ratified the Convention.

There was unanimous support for the proposal in the chamber tonight, after the Cabinet previously agreed to ratify it.

However, some deputies, such as independent TD Michael Harty, said it must be backed up with more funding.

Deputy Harty argued: "This requires ratification and also requires legislation, but we also require funding and a fundamental change to the culture and attitudes towards people with disabilities.

"We need to disability-proof our services, because if we do that than our services will be suitable for every member of society."

Minister for State with responsibility for Disability Issues, Finian McGrath, told deputies that the treaty offers Ireland "an opportunity to reassess our attitudes to people with disabilities, and place a renewed focus on their place in society".

Explaining the importance of the UNCRPD, Emily Logan - Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission - noted that the agreement is based on "independence, dignity and self-advocacy for persons with disabilities".

She said: "The Convention is, in its own way remarkably simple. It does not reinvent the wheel. It does not draw up or confer any new human rights.

"What it does is mark out in clear, unambiguous terms that the rights of persons with disabilities are human rights. It makes plain that our body of international human rights norms apply equally to persons with disabilities.”

The Convention will ultimately come into force in Ireland 30 days after the ratification is formally lodged with the UN.


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