THE Government must pass all of the required legislation if formal ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD) is to have any real impact, according to the country’s largest disability charity.
Rehab Group, which supports over 17,000 people with disabilities, has given a cautious welcome to Minister Finian McGrath’s announcement that a formal ratification process will begin in the coming weeks.
However, the disability organisation has warned the plans will have no real impact on the lives of people with disabilities if legalisation identified in the Treaty is not implemented.
Kathleen O’Meara, Rehab Group Director of Communications and Public Affairs said: “We welcome the Government’s announcement to formally begin a process to ratify the UNCRPD, but there is a significant amount of legalisation that now needs to be passed. The Government has now agreed to prioritise all remaining necessary legalisation. This is a commitment that the Government must deliver on. Progress in disability policy is often characterised by delays. This legalisation cannot be delayed any longer.
“For over two years, the Irish Government has known that these changes are required and yet there hasn’t been the political will to make them happen. We do not want empty gestures, we need legalisation to create real change. Without legalisation we will have taken the same path as many other countries – ratify and then consider the consequences. But we didn’t need to wait over a decade to do that.
“People with disabilities have waited for more than 10 years to have their rights recognised. We work with thousands of people with disabilities across the country every day and we understand how important this issue is.”