Ten years after signing up to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), Ireland hasn't gotten around to signing it into law...Why?
UCD Students’ Union Disability Rights Co-ordinator Amy Hassett releases a direct appeal to the students of Ireland to share her message and asks them to march with her on March 9th. Amy has spent half her life waiting for Ireland to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and she’s asking why? Why have successive Irish leaders failed to see its importance? Why have Ministers allowed it to be by-passed for ten years? Is Amy less important? Is her voice not loud enough?
“I'm asking you to tell your friends and family about this [CRPD]. To convince them to march with us on December 9th, to let our government know that we won't wait another 10 years while people with disabilities are treated like second-class citizens.”
Amy’s now 21, as she was turning 11 Ireland signed the UN Convention, in March 2007.
“Three days before my eleventh birthday, Ireland along with 159 other countries signed a UN convention that would give me and all people living in Ireland with disabilities the same rights as everybody else".
A decade later, Amy has since blown out the candles on her 21st birthday cake, and Ireland remains the only EU country who hasn't yet put the convention into law.
“That was 10 years ago. Now I'm an adult, a UCD student. I've grown older, but not much taller, and Ireland still hasn't turned this convention into law.”
She remarks how “Even North Korea got their shit together”.
Amy is from Our Lady's Island, Co. Wexford and is studying Physiology at UCD. She works part time as an Access Centre Student Leader as well as giving the odd campus tour and helping out with different events. She occasionally tutors other students.
“For people like me in wheelchairs, public buildings aren't accessible. I've yet to find a Garda station that I can actually get into.”
We need to send a strong message that Ireland values people with disabilities the same as everyone else and that shows we are committed to putting in the necessary work to make it happen.
Barry Murphy, UCD Students’ Union President has called for students across the country to share Amy's message and recognise that everyone is entitled to equal rights.
Murphy added that:
“Amy is just one student on campus, one woman in Ireland, one voice of many who are being ignored by our government. We should be ashamed to accept this lack of effort. We are breaking international laws every day we wait to ratify the UNCRPD. UCDSU are privileged to have Amy as part of our elected council. She is highlighting for us the changes we need to make on our UCD campus now while opening our eyes to the wider national disregard for her and all those living with disabilities in Ireland. We urge all students from UCD and beyond to come out on Saturday, the 9th of December, and join us at the GPO. Bring your friends, bring your family, walk beside Amy to Leinster House to show her, we hear her and want her voice heard."
Support us by sharing Amy's message and joining us on December 9th at the GPO to make our voices heard http://bit.ly/2i1ITNE