Failure to ratify disabilities convention


Sir, – For the second time this year, people with disabilities have had to protest outside Leinster House over the Government’s failure to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) (News, July 14th).

They pointed out that Ireland is the only member of the EU that has not ratified the convention.

Actually it is worse than that. A total of 174 out of 193 UN member states have ratified the CRPD. We are among the remaining 19 that have not done so. It is not something to be proud of.

Minister of State for Disability Issues Finian McGrath has said that “legal disagreement” is holding up ratification (“‘Clash of rights’ behind delay in ratification,” July 15th) but Ireland signed the CRPD 10 years ago, signalling its intention to ratify it and bring it into effect.

Surely 10 years was adequate time to sort out legal complications?

The current Government promised to ratify the CRPD by the end of 2016. That date has come and gone, and the Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, 2016, which was intended to resolve outstanding legal issues, is still missing key sections and has not yet reached committee stage in Dáil Éireann. At the present rate, it is highly unlikely that it will be passed by the end of 2017.

Mr McGrath’s commitment to disability issues is not in doubt, but someone is holding up the ratification of this almost universal convention and depriving people with disabilities of access to an important mechanism for asserting their rights.

It is time for a firm commitment by all of Government to ratify the CRPD by January 1st, 2018. – Yours, etc,


Blackrock, Co Dublin.