Sinn Féin TD Violet-Anne Wynne has voiced concerns about the lack of stewardship of the Disability Sector portfolio in the current Government.
The delayed ratification of the mechanism of the UN Convention on the Rights of Person’s with Disability, that allows individuals’ legal redress when the rights and entitlements enshrined in the Convention are being abused, has long caused concern for advocacy groups.
Ireland ratified the UNCRPD in 2018, 11 years after it was signed, but has opted out of the protocol that allows individuals to hold their respective states accountable on progressing the provisions of the Convention.
Teachta Wynne sits on the Joint Oireachtas Disability Matters Committee and has being raising several issues over the last few months.
Teachta Wynne says:
“The fact that Ireland still hasn’t ratified what’s known as the Optional Protocol as part of the UNCRPD is shameful.
“Ireland was one of the last EU member-states to even ratify the Convention and the way in which we are delaying the inevitable is another stalling technique of successive Governments to roadblock meaningful change and deny accountability to the Disabled People of this country.
“Another pressing issue is the fact that the transfer of the Disability from the Department of Health to the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration & Youth has been far from seamless.
“In fact, it is still very much underway which means that Disabled People have even less clarity about who to hold accountable for the daily barriers they face in having their rights protected.
“I have been asking the Taoiseach for an update on the transfer of responsibility and resources to better allow the work of the Disability Matters Committee to advance, but the answers are far from satisfactory.
“It remains unclear where the responsibility for many key disability rights issues currently lie and this isn’t good enough – especially as we approach the Budget 2022 formation period.
“The publication of two essential reports that should be made available to inform the budget for the Disability sector, namely the Disability Capacity Review and the Indecon Cost of Disability, have been delayed which means another budgetary year with substandard allocation for the disability sector.
“Disabled People are so often excluded from the central discussions around equality and integration. I have been engaging with my local Disabled People Organisation (DPO) the Clare Leader Forum, and they truly are the experts in the field – the voice of direct lived experience is critically underestimated by this Government.
“I urge Minister O’Gorman to genuinely engage with the Disabled Community in the lead up to the budget process. He has established an anti-racism committee, what about an anti-ableism committee?
“His unwillingness to speak to the Disabled Community since taking office has been disappointing and has left disabled people feeling forgotten about – yet again.”