Sage Advocacy has made a submission (click here) in response to Ireland’s Initial Report (draft) under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The submission draws mainly on the casework experience of Sage Advocacy in delivering independent advocacy to vulnerable adults over the past five years.
The submission also comments and makes observations on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with a Disability (UNCRPD) Articles most relevant to the role of Sage Advocacy.
Here are the six key messages underpinning the Sage Advocacy submission:
1) There is a significant gap between Irish Government aspirations in relation to the rights of people with disabilities (aspirations that are very laudable in themselves) and the lived reality for many people with disabilities. One of the main themes of our submission is to point out that the actions necessary to close this gap need far higher priority than they currently enjoy.
2) Until the Assisted Decision-making (Capacity) Act 2015 (ADM Act) is fully commenced, including the replacement of the wardship jurisdiction, Ireland will continue to fall short in implementing the UNCRPD.
3) In pressing the case for recognition and practical implementation of the rights of people with disabilities (e.g. in relation to self-determination), Sage Advocacy is conscious that, in many cases, it will be necessary also to take account of the competing rights and concerns of other parties (often close family members). However, it is critically important that these latter concerns do not become the dominant factor to the point where, as is frequently the case, the wishes of the person with a disability remain unheard or are simply ignored.
4) There is little evidence as to whether disability related strategies and initiatives (including joined up thinking by Government) have resulted in broader equality and inclusion for people with disabilities and there is insufficient focus on what the actual outcomes of these initiatives are for people with disabilities.
5) It is critically important that the current fragmentation of policies for people with disabilities and older persons does not result in the rights of older people with acquired disabilities as they age being ignored or their disabilities not being categorised as such – this is hugely important in the context of adherence to UNCRPD provisions.
6) The fact that Ireland has not signed the UNCRPD Optional Protocol, which provides for the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to receive and consider communications from or on behalf of individual or groups, is a matter of some concern in that it means that this important avenue for redress remains unavailable.