We voted overwhelmingly recently for a yes Vote for Equality for LGBT in the Civil Marriage Referendum but we still have much inequality in our Great country. People with Disability are among the most disadvantaged and marginalized citizens in our country. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is an international agreement directed at changing attitudes and approaches to persons with disabilities. Ireland was one of the first EU member states to sign the Convention when it was opened for signature on March 30th, 2007.However, almost eight years have passed and persons with disabilities and their families are still waiting for Ireland to make the CRPD a part of Irish law. A big barrier to Ireland ratifying the CRPD is the Lunacy Regulation (Ireland) Act 1871.

The Lunacy Regulation (Ireland) Act 1871 refers to people in such awful terms as ‘idiot’, ‘lunatic’ and ‘unsound mind’ and there are currently over two and a half thousand people in Ireland who are Wards of Court on account of age, intellectual disability, mental illness or brain injury.

The current Government made assurances in the 2011 Programme for Government that there would be movement in this area. However, we now face a race against time to enact the 2013 Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill before the General Election in 2016. As we approach the eight-year anniversary of Ireland signing the CRPD, we need to repeal the Lunacy Regulation (Ireland) Act 1871 and introduce the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill.

People with a disability have being waiting 144 years for equality and there time has come we need to change the Law now. It is vital that as we approach the centenary of 1916 that all our children are treated equally. A nationwide discussion is needed on how we treat people with a disability and a system of direct payments must be introduced so every person has a individual choice over their own lives.