On international Human Rights day,Senator Zappone speaks of those whose rights haven’t been realized

19.12.2014

On international Human Rights Day on Dec 10th, 2014, Senator Zappone spoke about and reminded the Government of those whose rights have not yet been realized in Ireland. Watch her passionate speech here. 

We must rise up" said John Dolan in his interview on "Morning Ireland" today. He was not talking about water charges but about the documented casual nature of the abuse at Áras Attracta which played out for all to see on RTE last night. As Professor Gerard Quinn said in his interview, residents were being treated as objects to be managed rather than as subjects to be cherished.

  On international human rights day 2014, I have a number of questions for the Leader. Perhaps some of them are rhetorical in the best sense, but they are questions that need to be asked nonetheless. On International Human Rights Day 2014, can the Leader confirm that the long-awaited gender recognition legislation will be published before Christmas? Dr. Lydia Foy, her advocates and all trans people, young and old, in Ireland want to know.

On International Human Rights Day 2014, will the Leader inform the House as to when the Department of Justice and Equality will publish the last head of the sexual offences (amendment) Bill? This head has to do with the oppressive, offensive and truly outdated legislation that criminalises sexual relations between people with an intellectual disability if they are not married. It is the law my right to love Bill - the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) (Amendment) Bill 2014 - seeks to change. Will the Leader confirm that the sexual offences (amendment) Bill that will amend so many oppressive past laws, will be enacted before this Government concludes its work?

  On International Human Rights Day 2014, will the Leader also confirm if the Government will put a referendum to the people so they can choose whether they want to incorporate Irish people’s fundamental economic, social and cultural rights within our most precious legal document, namely, the Constitution? Would it not be an incredible way for the Government to demonstrate its will to end long-term, medium-term and short-term homelessness?

  On International Human Rights Day 2014, will the Leader give us an indication if the Minister for Justice and Equality and the Government will finally recognise the proud identity of our Irish Traveller community by recognising their ethnic identity, or will that community have to wait until the next Government assumes power?

Tomorrow, I am meeting with a group of Travellers who want to speak to me about Seanad reform and if there is any possibility when all is said and done, the talking finished and one more report has been written, that we will get some genuine relevant reform that will be inclusive of their voice, so that one of their people can be in the Seanad to represent how they see the world, experience society and the economy. If I were offered a place on the Seanad reform group, I would gladly give it to one of the Travellers. I wonder how that would change the conversation and the recommendations.

  I wish a happy International Human Rights Day 2014 to the Leader and Members.

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