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Groups Unite To Give Disability Bill Recommendations
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 30, 2003

DUBLIN, IRELAND -- A coalition of disability groups is urging the government to follow its recommendations when writing the country's disability rights law which is expected to be complete in July.

An Irish Disability Bill was published in December 2001, but was withdrawn just two months later. Disability groups said the measure failed to meet their needs. In particular, the bill did not include ways for their rights to be protections within the court system.

The final draft of its replacement is currently being written.

Disability advocates on Sunday urged the Department of Justice to pay attention to the recommendations given by the Disability Legislation Consultation Group (DLCG), a coalition of eight groups representing people with physical and mental disabilities. The government established the DLCG to develop an outline for the bill that accurately reflects the needs of persons with disabilities.

According to the Irish Examiner, the DLCG is stipulating that all rights in the bill be enforceable by the courts; that a minister for disabilities to be appointed to make sure departments cooperate when dealing with disabilities issues; and that an independent advocacy agency ensure that workers with disabilities are integrated into the workforce.

"It's quite an achievement what we did," said Angela Kerins of DLCG. "To have all the disability groups come together and decide the core elements we wanted is really a historical achievement."

"I would hope they will pay very close attention to what the whole sector wants, especially since this is the first time we have spoken with one voice on the issues involved."

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