The government plans to improve protections for people with disabilities against hate crimes and hate speech.
This improvement has been outlined in the mid-term review of the National Disability Inclusion Strategy 2017-2021. The review was published by the Minister of State with responsibility of disability issues, Finian McGrath.
The review outlines that modified action will be taken to the original National Disability Inclusion Strategy in order to ensure that the needs of people with disabilities are central to the review of the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act and in the development of legislation on hate crimes.
The document further outlines that work will continue to finalise the legislation that is needed in relation to Ireland to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
In consolidating the reforms arising from Ireland’s ratification of the UN Convention, wardship is set to be abolished. In its place there will be support provided that ensure that the person’s will and preference is respected.
The review also acknowledges that there has been “significant improvements” in ensuring that public transport is made more easily accessible to people with disabilities.
Regarding access to third level education, the National Access Plan (NAP) 2015-2019 had set out an overall target for entry by people with disabilities.
The mid-term review has shown that there has been a significant increase in participation rates since work began on implementing the NAP. This relates in particular to the participation of those with disabilities in higher education.
In a statement following the publication of the midterm review, Mr McGrath welcomed the progress already made but acknowledged that there still is much work to be done.
He said “Ireland should be a country where people with disabilities have a complete equality, can participate fully in our society, and enjoy a quality of life on a par with the rest of the population.”
He continued by saying that “Work must now begin to ensure that actions are implemented so that those changes that are still needed, are realised.”
“This work has always been a particular passion of mine, and will continue to be. When the Strategy concludes in 2021, my hope and my aim is for Ireland to be a better place for people with disabilities to live in and a place where people with disabilities are involved and consulted with on matters and decisions that affect their lives.
Image Credit: National Advocate Disabilities