Following a meeting with Youth Work Ireland I raised with the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the need to reconstitute the National Youth Work Advisory Committee and also with the Minister for Justice and Equality the need to have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.

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For Written Answer on : 11/10/2017

Question Number(s): 169 Question Reference(s): 43078/17 Written

Department: Children and Youth Affairs

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 QUESTION

 * To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her plans to reconstitute the national youth work advisory committee as provided for in the Youth Work Act 2001; and if she will make a statement on the matter.                                                                                                                                                                               Brendan Smith T.D.

REPLY

Sections 17 and 18 of the Youth Work Act 2001 provide for the appointment of a National Youth Work Advisory Committee. The Committee had an advisory and consultative role to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs in matters to do with youth work, including the coordination of youth work programmes and services. In line with these provisions, a new National Youth Work Advisory Committee was appointed by the then Minister for Children and Youth Affairs with a term of office of one year with effect from 28 January 2013.   The Committee had its final meeting on 26 November 2013. The Committee continued to work with my Department and assisted with the development of the new National Youth Strategy, in particular in identifying in what ways the youth work sector can contribute to shared policy objectives for young people.

The National Youth Strategy 2015-2020 was published in, 2015. The implementation structures established by my Department under Better Outcomes Brighter Futures (BOBF), the National Policy Framework for Children and Young People oversee the roll out of the National Youth Strategy. There is no doubt that the youth work services have a significant contribution to make to realise the goals of the National Youth Strategy as part of a cross sectoral, whole of society approach to supporting young people in their everyday lives. For this reason, the key youth sector interests are represented on the structures established by my Department to support the implementation of Better Outcomes Brighter Futures. At national level, representatives of the voluntary youth services have been appointed to the Advisory Council of BOBF. At local level, youth sector representatives participate in the Children and Young People’s Services Committees. Key Government departments and agencies that have an interest in children and young people and that had served on the National Youth Work Advisory Committee are represented on the Children and Young People’s Policy Consortium and on the Sponsors Group that have been established under Better Outcomes Brighter Futures to drive the effective implementation of the policy framework.

 

There have been other significant policy and legislative developments that are relevant to the provision of youth services and the role of the National Youth Work Advisory Committee since the 2001 Act was passed. These include the introduction of the Education and Training Boards Act 2013 which, inter alia, provides for a statutory function for Education and Training Boards in supporting the provision and assessment of youth work services at local level. The National Strategy on Children and Young People’s Participation in Decision-making 2015-2020, which was published by my Department in June, 2015 is particularly relevant. I am deeply committed to ensuring that young people are involved in the preparation, planning and implementation of policies that impact on their lives.

In addition, my Department is fully committed to the reform of the many youth funding schemes. The Deputy will be aware that a number of targeted funding schemes supporting youth services were the subject of a Value for Money and Policy Review in 2014. The review made a number of recommendations for the future operation of the youth schemes and their development in the years ahead. Work on the development of a new funding scheme has been prioritised by my Department and consultations with youth services are continuing with a view to introducing the new youth funding programme in line with the review. The Deputy will also be aware that my Department has commenced a review of the Youth Service Grant Scheme. This review is intended to enhance its accountability, transparency and outcome measurement. It is also seeking to determine how best to meet the ever evolving needs of young people.

My Department works closely with the youth work sector, the voluntary youth services, the Education and Training Boards, other government departments and agencies and consults with young people themselves in the development and delivery of policies and services for children and young people.

For the above reasons, it is not my intention to reconvene the National Youth Work Advisory Committee while the reform process is ongoing. Given the seismic changes which have occurred over the past sixteen years, my Department will be revisiting the Youth Work Act, 2001 on the conclusion of the reform process, to ensure that it fully articulates the needs of young people in Ireland.

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For Written Answer on : 11/10/2017

Question Number(s): 108 Question Reference(s): 43120/17

Department: Justice and Equality

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QUESTION

To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality when the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will be ratified; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY

Ireland signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2007 and since then, successive Governments have emphasised Ireland’s strong commitment to proceed to ratification as quickly as possible, taking into account the need to ensure all necessary legislative and administrative requirements under the Convention are met. This Government remains committed to ratification of the Convention.

It is essential that the State is in a position to meet the obligations that it assumes under the terms of an international agreement from the moment of its entry into force for Ireland. Before the State can ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, enactment of new legislation and amendment of existing legislation is required to ensure obligations will be met upon entry into force for Ireland.  Ratification of a Convention before we have amended domestic legislation that contradicts it makes no sense and does nothing to ensure compliance or to protect the people for whose benefit the Convention exists.  The previous Government published a Roadmap in October 2015, which sets out the legislative measures needed to meet those requirements, along with declarations and reservations to be entered by Ireland on ratification.

Considerable progress has already been made to overcome the remaining legislative barriers to Ireland’s ratification of the Convention. The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 was signed into law on 30 December 2015 and is a comprehensive reform of the law on decision-making capacity. The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 has reformed Section 5 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 1993 to facilitate the full participation in family life of persons with intellectual disabilities and the full expression of their human rights.

The Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016 was published immediately prior to Christmas and completed Second Stage in February 2017.  The primary purpose of the Bill is to address the remaining legislative barriers to Ireland’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).   Work is ongoing on all the other issues set out in the previous Government’s Roadmap for Ratification published in October 2015 and these will be progressed as Committee Stage amendments.  The Bill will be progressed to enactment at an early date to facilitate ratification of the UN Convention as soon as possible.

The precise timing of ratification now depends on how long it will take for this Bill to progress through the enactment process and on issues in relation to commencement both of deprivation of liberty provisions, which will be included in the Bill at Committee Stage, and of the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015.

I would like to take this opportunity to assure the Deputy that ratification of the UNCRPD remains a very high priority for me as Minister.

 

 

 

 

 

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