Speaking recently in relation to the challenges faced by people living with disabilities, Sinn Fein candidate for Wicklow in the general election Councillor John Brady believes the government’s failure to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD) is a black mark on their record.
“Ireland signed up to the CRPD in 2007 but has done little since then to implement it. While over 150 governments world- wide have ratified the convention, Ireland stands embarrassed as our government have failed to make headway over the last eight years. The Fianna Fail and Green coalition followed by this Fine Gael/Labour government have both put the issue of serving citizens with disabilities - as required under the convention - firmly on the back burner. This is evidenced by their failure to provide a ratification deadline signing date which would instill urgency into the ratification process.”
Councillor Brady went on to suggest that this failure could be seen as a deliberate act in order to facilitate their discriminatory austerity agenda:
“This government have spent the last few years cutting supports to people with disabilities including allowances, medical cards and home help services. This has been done despite the aims of the convention the Irish government agreed to abide by. Article one of the convention states:
‘The purpose of the present convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity. Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.’
Councillor Brady continued:
“In other words, governments must refrain from engaging in any actions that might adversely affect the person’s opportunity to live full and equal lives in society. Had the Fianna Fail government ratified the convention before it left office, it is highly unlikely that our current government could have succeeded in implementing cuts with such detrimental consequences without contravening their obligations. As such, we can only assume that both Fine Gael and Labour purposely excluded ratification of the CRPD in order to remove such international legal barriers.”
In conclusion Councillor Brady stated “There is no legal or constitutional reason for the Government not to ratify the CRDP. It is simply a matter of policy and priority. Ratification would preclude the Government from inflicting harsh cuts to services and supports for people with disabilities. It is clear that sticking to an austerity agenda is more important to Fine Gael and Labour than vindicating the rights of people with disabilities.”