Dáil Éireann - Volume 499 - 04 February, 1999

Written Answers. - Council for People with Disabilities.

55. Ms O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when democratic elections to the National Council for People with Disabilities will be held; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3053/99]

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. O'Donoghue): On 6 January 1999, I announced the names of seven people I was appointing to a steering group tasked with implementing the recommendations in relation to the reorganising of the Irish Council of People with Disabilities which are contained in the report on the council furnished by consultants Deloitte & Touche to the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform in December 1998.

In their terms of reference the steering group [1522] was required to promote the development of the county networks and improve communications between the head office of the council and the networks; in consultation with the membership in the networks, to produce a draft constitution for a permanent council of people with disabilities. The draft constitution will have regard for the need for the council to be inclusive and accountable; to hold a meeting to adopt the constitution; to hold elections to the county networks and to the national board of the Irish Council of People with Disabilities; to oversee the operation of the head office of the Irish Council of People with Disabilities, including the allocation of funding to the networks, pending the election of a permanent council, and to complete its task by 30 September 1999.

Having regard to their terms of reference, it is a matter for the steering group to determine when elections to a new council should be held. Before this can happen, however, it will be necessary for the steering group, in consultation with the membership in the networks, to produce a draft constitution for a permanent Council of People with Disabilities. The draft constitution will have regard to the need for the council to be inclusive and accountable. I understand that the intention of the steering group is that the elections to the permanent council would be held well in advance of September 1999.