Some time ago … Irish Minister of State at the Department of Health & Children, Ms. Kathleen Lynch T.D., released to the public a report on the future policy of disability in Ireland. The report was drawn up by an Expert Reference Group at the request of the Department. Submissions were sought from the public and interested groups on this document, entitled ‘Report of Disability Policy Review’.
The Report, and other ‘supporting’ information, can be downloaded from the Department’s WebSite at … http://www.dohc.ie/consultations/
Submissions had to be received by the Department, at the latest, on Friday 4 November 2011.
As you read through the SDI Submission below, please also note well that on the 2 Web Pages of the Department’s Site …
- Background to Report of Disability Policy Review ; and
- Summary of Key Proposals from The Review of Disability Policy ;
… there is not one single mention of the word ‘rights’ !
In a post back on 17 February 2009 … concerning another disability matter, i.e. the complete lack of ‘accessible’ emergency services for people with a hearing impairment in our country, I wrote:
‘ Irish Politicians and Senior Civil Servants would all rather commit ritual suicide on Merrion Street (outside the Dáil and Government Buildings) than give people with disabilities their rights.’
The following is the recent Submission made by Sustainable Design International … and submitted to the Department of Health & Children on 4 November 2011 …
Re: The Future of Disability Policy in Ireland – SDI Submission
Ms. Kathleen Lynch T.D., Minister of State, c/o Office for Disability & Mental Health, Department of Health & Children, Hawkins House, Dublin 2.
It is reassuring to see that the following two documents, available for download from the Department’s WebSite, contain extensive references to Human Rights and, particularly, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities …
– Report of Disability Policy Review – Prepared by Ms. Fiona Keogh PhD, on behalf of the Expert Reference Group on Disability Policy (October 2011) ;
– Report on Public Consultation: Efficiency & Effectiveness of Disability Services in Ireland – Review of Disability Services under the Value for Money & Policy Review Initiative 2009-2011 (December 2010).
And yet … the following document, also available for download from the Department’s WebSite, does not make one single reference to Human Rights …
– Summary of Key Proposals from The Review of Disability Policy (October 2011).
It is a matter of deep concern how such a fundamental issue can suddenly, and with malign intent, be erased from view … and understanding !
Whether or not Ireland has ratified the United Nations 2006 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is no longer relevant.
The European Union (EU), having its own legal personality after the Lisbon Treaty, did ratify the UN Convention … back on 23 December 2010.
Therefore, Ireland is now bound by a Duty of Loyal Co-Operation, deriving from Article 4.3 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU).
This Duty embraces two sets of obligations: 1) All EU Member States shall take appropriate measures, whether general or particular, to ensure fulfilment of the obligations arising out of the EU Treaties or resulting from action taken by the EU Institutions; and 2) All EU Member States shall facilitate the achievement of the European Union’s tasks, and shall abstain from any measure which could jeopardise the attainment of the Union’s objectives.
In complete contrast to Ireland’s Current Disability Policy … Future Disability Policy must now be re-drafted, and implemented, in a manner where:
a) Explicit reference is made, throughout, to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities … and to the fact that there is now a robust rights-based foundation to Ireland’s National Disability Policy ;
b) There is a full, comprehensive and correct response to all of the contents of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
I would specifically draw your attention to Articles 31 & 33 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities … which together mandate that implementation is taken seriously … that it is competent and effective … and, most importantly, that independent monitoring and verification is a fundamental part of the whole policy development and implementation process.
In closing, may I add that the treatment of ‘Accessibility’ in all of the documents is careless, and disgracefully inadequate !!
Sustainable Design International is a professional and multi-disciplinary design, engineering, research and consultancy practice – specializing in the theory and implementation of a Sustainable Human Environment (social – built – virtual – economic).
Our Organization possesses a unique level of expertise on all aspects of Human Environment Accessibility for People with Activity Limitations.
C. J. Walsh, Consultant Architect, Fire Engineer & Technical Controller.
Managing Director, Sustainable Design International Ltd. – Ireland & Italy. Sürdürülebilir Tasarım Tic.Ltd.Şti. – Turkey.