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Written Answers. - Disability Bill.

Wednesday, 18 December 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 559 No. 6

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 226. Ms M. Wallace Information on Mary Wallace Zoom on Mary Wallace  asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform Information on Michael McDowell Zoom on Michael McDowell  the progress which has been made on the Disability Bill over the past 12 months; the changes which were to come into effect on 1 January 2003 under the original Disability Bill; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27017/02]

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. McDowell): Information on Michael McDowell Zoom on Michael McDowell The Disability Bill, 2001, was published on 21 December 2001. Following concerns expressed by interest groups, the Government agreed to further consultations on future proposals for disability legislation, in particular the Disability Bill. An expert consultation team was appointed in April 2002 comprising Ms Sylda Langford, Assistant Secretary in the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr. John O'Donnell, Senior Counsel, Professor Brian Nolan, Economic and Social Institute, Mr. Bernard Feeney, senior consultant, Goodbody's Economic Consultants, and Mr. Brian Crowley, Member of the European Parliament.

The consultation team is examining proposals from disability groups and is meeting with other relevant stakeholders, including the disability legislation consultation group, ICTU, IBEC, the community and voluntary sector and relevant Departments. The disability legislation consultation group is a representative group of disability organisations brought together by the National Disability Authority, NDA, earlier this year to facilitate dialogue within the sector and with the consultation team.

In June 2002, a commitment was given in An Agreed Programme for Government to complete consultations on the Disability Bill and bring the amended Bill through the Oireachtas with pro[1595]visions for rights of assessment, appeals, provision and enforcement. It is not possible to say in advance of the conclusion of the consultation process what might otherwise be contained in the legislation or whether it would be appropriate or [1596]necessary for the Bill to include provisions formerly contained in the Disability Bill, 2001, which fell on the dissolution of the 29th Dáil. Accordingly, the information given in the following table is one of historical record relating to the contents of the Disability Bill, 2001.

Disability Bill, 2001 – provisions intended to come into effect on 1 January 2003

Part 2 – Accessibility of Public Buildings and Services  
Section 8 – Local Authority Services Provision to require that, as far as practicable, new services provided by local authorities are accessible to persons with disabilities
Section 9 – Accessibility of goods and services supplied to public bodies Provision to require that goods or services supplied to public bodies are accessible to persons with disabilities, subject otherwise to the provisions of the section.
Part 3 – Transport Services  
Section 13 – Access to public transport Provision that, during the period 1 January 2003 and 31 December 2005, at least 30% of passenger road services, funded in whole or part by the Oireachtas, are accessible to persons with disabilities.
Section 14 – Large public service vehicles Provision that vehicles licensed for use for the first time as large public service vehicles, must be accessible to persons with disabilities.
Section 16 - Regulations Provision for the making of regulations by the Minister for Public Enterprise and the Minister for Environment and Local Government in respect of, as appropriate, accessible railway stations, facilities and carriages and large public service vehicles.
Section 17 – Disability awareness training for passenger transport operators Provision for disability awareness training to be a condition of licence for road passenger transport operators.
Part 4 – Health and Personal Social Services provided by Health Boards  
Sections 23 to 30 Provision for assessment of need for persons with disabilities in respect of health and personal social services.
Part 7 – Public Service Employment  
Sections 42 to 45 Provision for a statutory basis for the 3% target for the employment of people with disabilities in the public service.
Part 9 – National Disability Authority: Additional Powers and Membership  
Sections 50 to 58 and sections 60 to 61 Provision of additional powers to the National Disability Authority in regard to the carrying out of disability access audits, the development of disability access plans and compliance by public bodies with codes of practice. Provision was also made for the appointment of advisory committees to the authority and for a reduction in the quorum for authority meeting.
Part 10 - Genetic Testing  
Sections 62 to 67 Provision for the restriction of the use of information from genetic testing for commercial purposes such as insurance, mortgage applications or employment.
Part 11 – Centre for Excellence in Universal Design  
Sections 68 to 75 Provision for the establishment of a centre for excellence in universal design
Part 12 – Miscellaneous  
Section 76 – Covenants in leases Provision to amend the law applicable to lease agreements between landlords and tenants to facilitate alterations of premises by a lessor for the purpose of compliance with the Act.
Section 77 – Offences by bodies corporate Provision in relation to offences committed by and with the consent of a specified category of person within a body corporate.
Part 1 – Interpretations Both Parts to come into effect on 1 January 2003
Part 8 – Exclusions  

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