Speech on Order of Business: International Day of Persons with Disabilities and the Born Here Belong Here Campaign
3 December 2020
I thank all colleagues who spoke last night and who supported the Labour Party's Private Members' Bill on citizenship. I very much appreciate colleagues' support in ensuring the Bill makes further progress. I look forward to working with the Minister for Justice, Deputy McEntee, to ensure we have time for this early in the new year. I thank the Leader for her personal commitment to ensuring that Government time will be made available for that. On behalf of all my Labour Party colleagues, I thank everyone for their support. There was real agreement on the need for legislative pathways to citizenship for children born in Ireland, which we will work together to achieve. It was a good evening for the Seanad. We saw the best sort of constructive co-operation and collaboration on legislation.
Today is International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which I am wearing a purple jacket to mark. The theme for today is that not all disabilities are visible. I have just come from a wonderful meeting of the Joint Committee on Disability Matters at which we heard powerful presentations from Special Olympics Ireland and the Trinity Centre for People with Intellectual Disabilities. We heard from Margaret Turley, a basketball player with Special Olympics Ireland and a brilliant presenter, who gave us a really strong sense of the importance of ensuring that organisations like Special Olympics Ireland are supported and that the enormous contributions persons with intellectual disabilities make to society are recognised, acknowledged and affirmed. Perhaps we could have a debate on the need to pass various measures to fully implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the new year. That is the issue on which the committee is working. It is a new joint committee on which many colleagues from across the House sit. The work we are doing is very important in seeking to ensure that Ireland becomes a better place for persons with disabilities to live. I ask that we celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities today.