10 Students from Trinity marched today for the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) . The march called for full disability rights for people in Ireland and for an increase in services for people with disabilities.
Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) Officer for Students with Disabilities, Laura Beston encouraged students to march. Beston along with TCDSU organised two photocalls around campus to create awareness for CRPD and why it should be ratified.
TCDSU president, Kevin Keane told Trinity News that it was “disappointing to see a small contingent of students present at the March today. The Union undertook a series of online promotions to encourage people to attend.” Keane also stated that it was a ” particularly difficult day for the march to take place, between Trinity’s Open Day and USI National Council at the same time.”
Speaking at the march today Beston told Trinity News that “the march was really important because it is increasing the awareness that people with disabilities are angry at the moment, it’s not just campaigning for rights anymore, it’s campaigning for life. A Life like everyone else, to have access to services, to be able to live your life how you want to live, and to be able to live independently. The big thing today is really choice, having the choice to live where you want to, to work where you want to. To have access to education, information, to the healthcare services you need, and that’s essentially what today was about”.
Other speakers at the march included Suzy Byrne, who said: “10 years since signed still has not been ratified.. Rights where we live, who we live with, how we live. Lives of choices, lives that we want to live. [We] need to ensure there are real changes made to people’s lives”.
Also speaking at the march, University College Dublin (UCD) Disability Rights coordinator Amy Hassett remarked that 13.5% of the population are disabled, reiterating the need for a ratification on the CRPD.
TCDSU passed a motion at SU Council in February 2017 to lobby the government for rights for people with disabilities, and in particular for the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.The motion was proposed by Niamh Herbert, a second year European Studies student and co-founder of the charity ‘Disability and I’, which aims to promote promote advocacy for people with disabilities. The motion was seconded by former TCDSU Welfare Officer Aoibhinn Loughlin.
The CRPD was adopted on December 13, 2006 and the European Union (EU) encouraged all member states to sign it and ratify it; Ireland signed the convention in March 2007. The convention, intended “as a human rights instrument”, has been ratified by all EU countries except Ireland.
Additional reporting by Jessie Dolliver.