Independent Alliance Minister of State with responsibility for Disabilities, Finian McGrath, will officially mark Ireland’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the United Nations in New York today.

The ratification of the UN Convention took place in the Dáil last month. Now Minister McGrath is delivering the formal ratification decision to the United Nations to mark this historic milestone.

Ireland signed up to the UNCRPD in 2007.

All political parties since signing have campaigned for ratification but according to Minister McGrath, none brought us to today’s event.

Minister McGrath has overseen and taken charge of, in less than two years as Minister for Disabilities, discussions and negotiations between Government Departments and stakeholders to enable us to reach this momentous day. 

“Today marks a key moment, not only for people living with a disability, but also for their families, friends and support networks and for Irish society generally. Today the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities enters into force in Ireland”.

Minister McGrath paid tribute to the various disability stakeholder groups who have been instrumental in getting to the point of ratification.

“Ratification of the Convention was a key commitment in the Programme for Government and has been one of the highest of priorities for me since becoming Minister. 

“I am very pleased to now be able to deliver on that commitment. It rebalances the right of people with disabilities to make decisions for themselves, rather than have decisions made for them. With ratification in place, I can now focus on using the Convention to better equip and resource people with disabilities to improve their quality of life.”

“Ratification does not mean that work stops here. I know that there are many families and individuals in the disability community nationwide who struggle daily and live very challenging lives. I am committed to you and we will proceed to progress necessary legislation for your benefit. To this end, I have the full backing of An Taoiseach and all my Cabinet colleagues.”

“I understand that disability campaigners and groups have been impatient in waiting for this day. You may have doubted if I would follow through on commitments I made to you. But be in no doubt – my career to date and long into the future has had people with a disability at the very centre of it. That will never change.”