Wednesday, 25 May 2011
Dáil Éireann Debate
139. Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when he will ratify the UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities acknowledging also that we were among the first countries to sign the convention. [12937/11]
Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Ireland was in the first group of countries to sign, subject to ratification, the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities when it opened for signature on 30 March 2007.
It is the Government’s intention to ratify the Convention as quickly as possible, taking into account the need to ensure that all necessary legislative and administrative requirements under the Convention are being met. Ireland does not become party to treaties until it is first in a position to comply with the obligations imposed by the treaty in question, including by amending domestic law as necessary.
The ongoing implementation of our National Disability Strategy in many respects comprehends many of the provisions of the Convention. In addition, the Inter-Departmental Committee on the UNCRPD monitors the remaining legislative and administrative actions required to enable the State to ratify the Convention. The Committee has developed a programme on which work is progressing to address the matters that need to be aligned with the UNCRPD.
One of the key requirements in this regard is the enactment of mental capacity legislation. The Government’s Legislation Programme announced on 5 April 2011 indicates that the Mental Capacity Bill is expected to be published in late 2011. The Bill will replace the Wards of Court system with a modern statutory framework governing decision-making on behalf of adults who lack capacity. The passage of this Bill will add substantially to the overall progress on implementation of the requirements towards ratification of the Convention.
140. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will ratify the second optional protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12972/11]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): The optional protocol referred to by the Deputy concerns the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. The Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act 2008 criminalised the sale of persons, including children, for any purpose. Also, I understand from the Department of Health and Children that the Adoption Act 2010 meets the requirements of the optional protocol. Legislative proposals to enhance the protection of children against sexual abuse and exploitation, including exploitation through prostitution and child pornography, are at an advanced stage of preparation in my Department. These measures will facilitate full compliance with the criminal law provisions of a number of international legal instruments, including outstanding requirements in the optional protocol. I expect to bring these legislative proposals to Government in the coming months.
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