June 2, 2022
Amendments needed to Assisted Decision-Making Capacity Act – Mark Ward TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health Mark Ward TD has called for the government to listen to the opposition and to agree to amendments to the Assisted Decision-Making Capacity Act.

Sinn Féin supports the need to reform how wardships of court are legislated for in the state. 

The government however have missed the opportunity to make Ireland a leader in capacity legislation

Speaking after the second stage debate, Teachta Ward said:

“I support the need to reform how wardships of court are legislated for in the state but the government has engaged in a rushed legislation strategy that leaves people with enduring mental health difficulties behind.

“As the legislation stands, people who are involuntarily detained under the Mental Health Act do not have the right to have their advance wishes about treatment respected.

“Even though they had capacity to make decisions about their mental health care and treatment at the time of making their directive.

“There is no other group of individuals that are specifically excluded from this legal right in this legislation.

“The use of Advance Healthcare Directives must be awarded to those under the Mental Health Act.

“For example, if a person states in their Advance Healthcare Directive that they do not consent to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), also known as electric shock treatment, and they are subsequently detained under the Mental Health Act then their wishes may not be followed.

“This could happen very easily because its happening already. In 2020, 20% of all ECTs were administered without consent. 442 patients were subjected to this treatment without their consent in 2020.

“The government is also rushing this legislation through the house excluding people with disabilities the right amount of time to allow them to take part in the process that will ultimately affect their lives.

“The committee report recommends that we must ensure accessible and inclusive processes of consultation and that every effort should be made by Government Departments, in compliance with the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty, to carry out meaningful engagement with those directly affected by legislation prior to publication.

“This simply did not happen and Sinn Fein will be submitting numerous amendments to make this act inclusive, equal and human rights compliant.”

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