Fianna Fáil Disability Spokesperson Margaret Murphy O’Mahony says her party is committed to signing up to the Optional Protocol of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

“Last week the Dáil passed a motion ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – a motion that I and my party were happy to support.

“However the Government did not propose that we also sign up to the Optional Protocol of the Convention. This is a protocol that establishes two procedures aimed at strengthening the implementation and monitoring of the Convention.

“The first is an individual communications procedure allowing individuals to bring petitions claiming breaches of their rights to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), a body of independent experts which monitors implementation of the Convention by the States Parties.

“The second is an inquiry procedure giving the Committee authority to undertake inquiries of grave or systematic violations of the Convention.

“So far some 92 Countries have signed up to the Optional Protocol – which is just over half of the 160 countries that have signed up to Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

“It is not clear why we are not signing up at this stage. When the Fine Gael and Labour Government published a road map to ratification of the Convention in 2015, a firm intention to sign and ratify the Optional Protocol was also stated. This was reiterated on behalf of the current Government by Minister Finian McGrath at the Oireachtas Justice Committee in December 2016.

“For our part, Fianna Fáil is committed to its ratification and I will be putting a motion on the Dáil order paper to give effect to it.”