The Law Society of Ireland has called on the State to “realise its international obligations to Irish people with disabilities”.
In a statement issued on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (3 December), the Society expressed concern about the lack of progress in several areas.
The organisation said that, while Ireland had ratified the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2018, it had not yet ratified an optional protocol that provides a mechanism for individuals with disabilities to make a complaint to the United Nations.
This was one of a number of recommendations made by the Society in a submission made to the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth earlier this year.
Ireland ‘in minority’
Gary Lee (chair of the Society’s Human Rights and Equality Committee, small picture) expressed concern about what he described as “the failure of the State to meaningfully progress the rights of people with disabilities in Ireland”.
While welcoming a Government commitment to abolish the wardship system, and begin the Decision Support Service in July 2022, Lee said that the long-promised Disability Bill “seems to have fallen off the legislative agenda”.
He also called for progress on mental-health legislation, and the protection of liberty safeguards.
“Domestic legislation urgently needs to be brought into line with the CRPD. Furthermore, the failure to ratify the optional protocol denies our citizens with disabilities the mechanism to hold the Irish State accountable,” said Lee.
“Ireland is in the minority in this regard, the majority of countries having already ratified this protocol,” he added.