Children, young people and adults with disabilities have a right to have their needs met at each stage of their life - Moynihan

Published on: 11 March 2022

Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North West and chair of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Disability Matters, Michael Moynihan, has today published a report entitled ''Ensuring independent living and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities' which looks at the lived experience of people with disabilities on the issues that affect them, their families and carers.  
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) is a landmark Convention that calls for the transformation of the policy response from the medical to the social or human rights model of disability, where people with disabilities are no longer viewed and treated as medical objects to be institutionalised, but as individuals capable of living independently, being included in communities, and contributing to society as citizens like everyone else.
Following a call for public submissions in 2020, the Committee engaged with people who have lived experience of disability and a wide range of other stakeholders with a view to inform itself on approaches to realise independent living for people with disabilities.
Cathaoirleach of the Committee Deputy Michael Moynihan said: “The State’s consistent delays in ratifying and reporting on the UNCRPD, as well as the current delay with ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention, cause the Committee concern because the delay ensures that people with disabilities are excluded from the benefits of the oversight monitoring by the UN Committee.
“Over the decades the policy response to supporting people with disabilities in Ireland has reflected the medical model of disability, where individuals were segregated in congregated settings which were inappropriate for them, and which led to a lower quality of life and isolation. This response prevails today as people with disabilities continue to be placed inappropriately in congregated settings.
“To ensure independent living and inclusion in communities, we must meaningfully consult with people with disabilities and their representative organisations, regarding decisions that affect their lives. This is crucial in the design of policies, programmes and in the planning process.
"Consistent poverty is the reality of many people with disabilities in Ireland and the cost of disability is not reflected in social protection responses. There is urgent need to develop a rights-based approach to social protection for people with disabilities and update supports accordingly.
"To get to the heart of what it means to be a person with a disability in Irish society, I firmly believe a Citizen’s Assembly on Disability Rights would help address what is needed to ensure a whole of society approach. Importantly, it would help make an attitudinal shift in how persons with disabilities are seen, heard and supported across their life and life course.''
Among the Committee’s recommendations for people living with disabilities are:
•    The development of a national policy and framework on the recognition and consultation of people with disabilities and their Disabled Persons Organisations (DPOs).  
•    The immediate ratification of the Optional Protocol to further enable more meaningful involvement of people with disabilities in issues that affect their lives.
•    The development of a right to independent living in domestic law to ensure that people with disabilities can live ‘ordinary lives in ordinary places’.
•    The introduction of a Public Sector Inclusion Objective which applies a duty on all public bodies to adhere to Article 19.