Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall TD has expressed huge disappointment over the failure of Minister Finian McGrath TD to support people with disabilities by ensuring that they have the right to bring complaints to an important UN body.

Deputy Shortall said the Minister had betrayed Ireland’s 640,000 people with disabilities who now have no way to vindicate their rights before the United Nations in cases where the government is failing them.

Deputy Shortall said:

“As Minister of State with Responsibilities for Disability, Finian McGrath TD had a real chance to make a significant positive impact on the lives of people with disabilities. But when it came down to it, the self-styled champion of people with disabilities has let them down.

“The Minister last week oversaw the final stages of Ireland’s ratification of a hugely important UN Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities which the country signed up to eleven years ago.

“While the delay in giving legal effect to the convention was bad enough, what makes matters worse is that the government has opted for the foreseeable future to not ratify a crucial protocol that goes along with the convention.

“The protocol is what allows people to bring complaints to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities where they believe their rights are being violated. It is what gives the convention teeth – it makes it tangible for people, rather than aspirational.

“The impact on people’s lives cannot be underestimated here. The Minister has dashed the hopes and expectations of disabled people around the country and that is hugely disappointing.

“An online petition that I set up to draw attention to this issue has garnered more than 2,000 signatures since last Tuesday [13th March]. This take up shows just how much frustration and anger there is out there on this issue. I call on the Minister to do right by people and use his influence at the cabinet table to ratify the UN Convention in its entirety.”


16 March 2018

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