Mary Robinson Launches New Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway

Friday, 3 April 2009

(Leagan Gaeilge) Former President of Ireland, Dr Mary Robinson will today (Friday, 3 April) launch a new Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway. The Centre is one of the first of its type in Europe and it is timely given the recent adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which Ireland has signed. The primary purpose of the new Centre is to conduct research on best international practice to assist in the ongoing process of reform taking place here in Ireland and throughout the world. The launch will be followed by a Round Table discussion composed of a panel of distinguished international experts from China, the USA, Hungary, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the European Commission. The experts will discuss the current global challenges in the field of disability followed by commentary from Irish specialists. The advancement of the rights of persons with disabilities was one of the hallmarks of Dr Robinson's presidency and she also played a major role, in her capacity as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, in initiating the new UN Convention. According to Dr Robinson: "The Centre for Disability Law and Policy represents the best a university can offer in a democratic society by placing its research assets at the disposal of the process of change. This is nowhere more important than in the field of disability both here in Ireland and abroad". Dr Robinson praised the intention of the new Centre to benchmark Ireland against international best practice as well as for its wide international links, especially with the University of Syracuse and the Harvard Project on Disability. She also noted that the estimated 650 million persons with disabilities are now officially acknowledged as the world's largest minority and that the vast majority of them live in dire circumstances in developing countries. She commended the work done already by the Centre on development aid and disability and urged more efforts by Ireland and other countries in that regard. Dr Robinson gave specific mention to the role played by the Director of the Centre – Professor Gerard Quinn – in helping to negotiate the new Convention and for his longstanding work in this field. The President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, spoke of the broad commitment of the University to 'civic engagement' which includes ensuring that its research prowess assists in the process of change by identifying innovative solutions. He noted that the new Centre will form part of a multi-disciplinary 'lifecycle research alliance' in NUI Galway, dealing with ageing at the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology and with families at the Child and Family Research Centre. It is envisaged that the three Centres will work collaboratively to bring their combined strengths to bear on lifecycle policy issues. Dr Browne acknowledged with special thanks the support of Atlantic Philanthropies in establishing the new Centre and indeed the two other Centres involved in the emerging 'lifecycle research alliance'. The current research programme of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy focuses on the individualisation of services as well as the development of a Baseline Study on the state of Irish disability law and policy. It holds important research contracts with the European Commission on eAccessibility for blind people on the internet as well as the mapping of the UN disability Convention in EU law and policy. The Centre already has a vibrant PhD programme and plans a dedicated LLM programme in 2010 as well as an annual Summer School. With its special emphasis on public policy analysis and law, the new Centre will also complement the excellent work of the National Institute on Intellectual Disability at TCD and the UCD Disability Studies Centre. Professor Gerard Quinn, Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway, says: "This Centre joins a handful around the world. Our aim is to generate research that marks a constructive contribution to the process of change. Ireland was a pioneer in the field of disability discrimination law and its National Disability Strategy shows great promise. Our hope is to make a constructive contribution to the implementation of that strategy to identify policy solutions to current challenges by drawing on a rich vein of comparative experience throughout the world. In this way we hope to enrich policy debates at home and expand the repertoire of policy options available to Government. We will work collaboratively with a wide variety of stakeholders in Ireland and build our international links to ensure access to legislative and policy solutions that offer promise in Ireland".
-ends-
(View in English) Seolfaidh iar-Uachtarán na hÉireann, an Dr Mary Robinson, an tIonad Nua um Dhlí agus Beartas Míchumais in OÉ Gaillimh inniu (Dé hAoine, 3 Aibreán). Tá an tIonad seo ar an gcéad ionad dá leithéid san Eoraip agus tráthúil go leor tá an tIonad á sheoladh go gairid i ndiaidh d Éirinn Coinbhinsiún na Náisiún Aontaithe um Chearta an Duine faoi Mhíchumas a shíniú. Is é príomhchuspóir an Ionaid nua taighde a dhéanamh ar an gcleachtas idirnáisiúnta is fearr d fhonn cur leis an bpróiseas athchóirithe atá ar siúl anseo in Éirinn agus ar fud na cruinne. Reáchtálfar plé Comhchomhairle le painéal saineolaithe aitheanta idirnáisiúnta ón tSín, ó SAM, ón Ungáir, ó Oifig Ard-Choimisinéir na Náisiún Aontaithe um Chearta an Duine agus ón gCoimisiún Eorpach i ndiaidh sheoladh an Ionaid. Pléifidh na saineolaithe na dúshláin dhomhanda atá ann i láthair na huaire sa réimse míchumais agus ansin labhróidh saineolaithe ón tír seo faoin gceist. Ceann de bhuaicphointí uachtaránacht an Dr Robinson ba ea cearta daoine faoi mhíchumas a chur chun cinn agus bhí ról lárnach aici freisin, mar Ard-Choimisinéir na Náisiún Aontaithe um Chearta an Duine, i gCoinbhinsiún nua de chuid na Náisiún Aontaithe a bhunú. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an Dr Robinson: "Is ionann an tIonad um Dhlí agus Beartas Míchumais agus an iarracht is fearr is féidir le hollscoil ar bith a dhéanamh i sochaí dhaonlathach trí acmhainní taighde a dhíriú ar phróiseas seo an athraithe. Baineann an oiread tábhachta leis seo i réimse an mhíchumais anseo in Éirinn agus thar lear agus a bhaineann le réimse ar bith eile". Mhol an Dr Robinson an obair atá beartaithe ag an Ionad nua a dhéanamh, is é sin a chinntiú go bhfuil Éire ag cloí go docht le dea-chleachtas idirnáisiúnta mar aon le naisc idirnáisiúnta a chruthú, go háirithe le hOllscoil Syracuse agus Tionscadal Míchumais Harvard. Chomh maith leis sin, thagair an Dr Robinson don 650 milliún duine faoi mhíchumas ar fud na cruinne – an grúpa mionlaigh is mó ar domhan – agus don chúis náire go bhfuil formhór dóibh ag maireachtáil i gcúinsí mífheiliúnacha i dtíortha i mbéal forbartha. Mhol sí an obair atá déanta ag an Ionad go dtí seo ar chúnamh forbartha agus ar mhíchumas agus dúirt sí gur cheart d Éirinn agus do thíortha eile níos mó a dhéanamh sa réimse seo. Thagair an Dr Robinson don ról tábhachtach atá ag Stiúrthóir an Ionaid – an tOllamh Gerard Quinn – in idirbheartaíocht an Choinbhinsiúin nua agus don obair iontach atá déanta aige sa réimse seo. Labhair Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr James J. Browne, ar thiomantas na hOllscoile do 'chomhpháirteachas poiblí' a chinntíonn go gcabhraíonn taighde ceannródaíoch atá ar bun in OÉ Gaillimh leis an bpróiseas athraithe trí réitigh nuálacha a aithint. Dúirt sé go n-áireofar an tIonad nua mar chuid de 'chomhfhiontar taighde' a bheidh dírithe ar aosú atá ar bun in OÉ Gaillimh – taighde atá ar bun ag Ionad Sheaneolaíocht Shóisialta na hÉireann i gcomhar le teaghlaigh san Ionad Taighde um Leanaí agus Teaghlaigh. Meastar go n-oibreoidh na trí Ionad i dteannta a chéile chun úsáid éifeachtach a bhaint as an saineolas atá acu maidir le ceisteanna beartais. Ghlac an Dr Browne buíochas as tacaíocht The Atlantic Philanthropies an tIonad nua a bhunú, agus ghlac sé buíochas leis an dá Ionad eile a bhfuil baint acu leis an gcomhfhiontar taighde nua. Tá clár taighde reatha an Ionaid dírithe ar indibhidiúlú seirbhísí mar aon le Staidéar Bonnlíne ar staid dhlí agus bheartas míchumais na hÉireann a fhorbairt. Tá conarthaí tábhachtacha taighde eAccessibility bunaithe ag an Ionad leis an gCoimisiún Eorpach do dhaoine dalla agus tá iniúchadh déanta ar Choinbhinsiún Míchumais na Náisiún Aontaithe mar atá i ndlí agus i mbeartas an Aontais Eorpaigh. Tá clár PhD forbartha ag an Ionad cheana féin agus tá sé beartaithe tús a chur le clár ainmnithe LLM in 2010 mar aon le Scoil Samhraidh bhliantúil. Díreoidh an tIonad nua go speisialta ar anailís a dhéanamh agus ar an dlí a bhaineann le beartas poiblí, ach chomh maith leis sin cuirfidh an tIonad nua leis an obair iontach atá ar bun ag an National Institute on Intellectual Disability i gColáiste na Tríonóide, Baile Átha Cliath agus ag Ionad an Staidéir ar Mhíchumais sa Choláiste Ollscoile, Baile Átha Cliath. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an Ollamh Gerard Quinn, Stiúrthóir an Ionaid um Dhlí agus Beartas Míchumais: "Is beag Ionad den chineál seo atá bunaithe ar fud na cruinne go dtí seo. Is é atá mar aidhm againne taighde fiúntach a dhéanamh a chuirfidh le próiseas an athraithe. Ceannródaí ba ea Éire i réimse an dlí idirdhealaithe míchumais agus tuar dóchais a bhfuil scríofa sa Straitéis Náisiúnta Míchumais. Is é atá mar aidhm againn cur i bhfeidhm na straitéise sin a éascú agus réitigh bheartais a aithint le déileáil le dúshláin reatha trí leas a bhaint as taithí grúpaí eile ar fud an domhain. Ar an tslí seo, tá súil againn a bheith in ann cur le díospóireachtaí beartais in Éirinn agus na deiseanna beartais atá ar fáil don Rialtas a fhorbairt. Oibreoimid i gcomhar le páirtithe leasmhara in Éirinn agus cuirfimid lenár naisc idirnáisiúnta lena chinntiú gur féidir linn rochtain a fháil ar réitigh reachtacha agus bheartais a rachaidh chun tairbhe na hÉireann".
-críoch-

« Back