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CAPACITY 2 CHANGE’ COMMITTEE WELCOME THE PASSING OF THE (CAPACITY) BILL - News - Young Fine Gael

CAPACITY 2 CHANGE’ COMMITTEE WELCOME THE PASSING OF THE (CAPACITY) BILL

YOUNG FINE GAEL ‘CAPACITY 2 CHANGE’ COMMITTEE WELCOME THE PASSING OF THE ASSISTED DECISION-MAKING (CAPACITY) BILL

 

The Young Fine Gael ‘Capacity2Change’ Committee have welcomed the passing of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill 2013 through all stages of the Oireachtas today. All Seanad Amendments to the Bill have been accepted, meaning that the Bill will now be sent on to President Michael D. Higgins to be signed into law.

The new legislation will repeal the Lunacy Regulations Act 1871, which Capacity2Change had criticised for being outdated and a denial of civil rights for persons with intellectual disabilities and reduced decision-making capacity. Under the Wards of Court system in the Lunacy Regulations Act, persons with intellectual disabilities and reduced decision-making capacity are prevented from owning property, getting married, testifying in court or having a say over legal and medical decisions that affect their lives. Capacity2Change member Patricia Kenny emphasised that “People with disabilities in Ireland under the Lunacy Regulations Act have little to no civil rights, particularly those with cognitive disorders including those with Down syndrome and dementia”.

The Capacity2Change subcommittee was set up with the responsibility of campaigning on behalf of Young Fine Gael to ensure the enactment of the Bill before the end of this Government’s term of office. They organised public information meetings to raise awareness of the Bill and met with Minister of State Kathleen Lynch and other disability advocacy groups such as Inclusion Ireland to ensure that the Bill would receive prioritisation in the Government’s Autumn-Winter legislative programme for 2015-16.

The Capacity Bill will provide for the abolishment of the Ward of Courts system and put in place a new modern statutory framework to support decision-making by adults with reduced capacity. Walter Burke, Capacity2Change member emphasised that “The Capacity Bill will ensure that decision-making is now made on a case by case basis, and tailored to meet the needs and circumstances of vulnerable individuals. It will grant autonomous decision-making power to individuals with reduced capacity to the greatest extent possible. The enactment of the Bill will also be a key element in enabling Ireland to now ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”.

The Bill also makes provision for ‘Advance Healthcare Directives’ which is where a person states in advance their will and preferences concerning treatment that may arise if the person lacks capacity in the future. There is further provisions for ‘Power of Attorney’ permitting someone to act on your behalf and ‘Enduring Power of Attorney’ which allows someone to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated in the future.

Rachel Kidd, Chairperson of Capacity2Change welcomed the passing of the legislation: “Today is an historic and momentous day for Ireland. This legislation is not just about legal changes but signifies a cultural shift in how we view and treat people with disabilities in Ireland. It has been great a play a role in such a significant piece of legislation and we would also pay tribute to the hard work of disability advocacy groups and all of the TDs and Senators who contributed to the enactment of the Bill"

ENDS:

Colm Taylor

President of Young Fine Gael

087 7436846

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