Irish Advocates Angered At Lack Of Rights In Disability
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
May 12, 2005
DUBLIN, IRELAND--Disability groups in Ireland are expressing anger and frustration at what they claim is the government's refusal to consider key rights in the latest version of its national Disability Bill.
According to Ireland On-Line (IOL), advocates are particularly worried that the measure does not recognize a right for people with disabilities to sue when they face discrimination.
Lawmakers debated provisions of the Disability Bill 2004 in the Dáil last week.
"Our role of influencing it is over," said Mary Keogh, of the Forum of People with Disabilities, "that has been stated by the minister, so once the bill is enacted, we'll be asking the opposition parties in their upcoming manifestos for the next general election that an immediate review of this legislation would be an immediate priority for them."
IOL noted that the government is avoiding a rights-based approach in the law, believing it could lead to a large number of court cases from people with disabilities who demand access to services.
Four years ago, the Disability Bill 2001 was scrapped following criticism from disability rights groups who complained that the legislation limited the rights of individuals. The government then began consultations with advocates to draft its next version.
In an April 19 letter to the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Amnesty International's Sean Love wrote: "The Disability Bill 2004 falls far short of ensuring that all people with disabilities will have an immediate right to a basic level of services that ensure that the relevant rights are afforded a minimum degree of protection, and of providing an unambiguous right to progressive realisation of an independent assessment of their needs, with the guarantee of independent and effective channels for enforcement, complaint and appeal."
Disability Bill, 2004 (Assist Ireland)
Letter from Sean Love, Executive Director (Amnesty International -- Ireland)