Fianna Fáil TD for Laois Seán Fleming says he is disappointed that the Government may not ratify the Optional Protocol on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with a Disability until April 2020 at the earliest.

Fleming made his comments after tabling a Dáil parliamentary question on the issue.

Deputy Fleming said, “I am very disappointed that the Government has made the decision not to ratify the Optional Protocol on the UN Convention for Persons with a Disability until April 2020 at the earliest.

“The Government is portraying that Ireland has fully signed up to the UN Disabilities Convention. This is clearly not the case and it will come as a surprise to many people that Ireland has only partially signed up to the convention.

“The Optional Protocol strengthens the implementation and monitoring of the Convention allowing individuals to bring petitions to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities claiming breaches of their rights. It also gives the Committee authority to undertake inquiries of grave or systematic violations of the Convention.

“In my view this decision is putting the strengthening and safeguarding of the rights of people with a disability on the long finger and it is simply not good enough. People with a disability waited long enough to have the Convention ratified. They should not be subjected to further delays.

“Fianna Fáil is committed to ratifying this Protocol and all aspects of the convention in full. We believe that it is high time that this Government paid more than lip-service to people with disabilities and immediately set in train the process of ratifying this all essential elements of the Convention.”