I welcome the following Media Release from the Committee on Disability Matters of which I am a member off into the investigation on gathering of information on children with autism and their families.
The statement is as follows:
Statement from Committee on Disability Matters on RTÉ Investigates report
The Joint Committee on Disability Matters met in private to discuss its grave concern over the allegations in relation to the State’s creation of dossiers and gathering of sensitive and confidential information on children with autism and their families who were involved in legal actions against the State that was highlighted in the RTÉ Investigates report on 25th March 2021.
The Committee is aware that it is now over two weeks since these allegations have been made and the Report from Senior Counsel has still not been published. The Committee calls on the Minister to publish this Report immediately.
The Committee believe that these allegations, if confirmed, could be a significant breach of Article 22 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) which calls for the protection of personal and family privacy and the reputation of people with disabilities, and Article 31 which calls for the safeguarding and confidentiality of data collection and processing regarding persons with disabilities.
The Committee also believes that action is now essential to restore public trust, and in particular the trust of people with disabilities, not only in respect of the data processing practices of the State, but also in respect of engagement with health and education services. The Committee therefore has written to the Secretary General of the Department of Health and the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Skills regarding compliance with the UNCRPD and requesting that both Departments outline the plans and steps being taken to restore public confidence.
The Committee has also agreed to hold a public meeting in the coming weeks to consider the State’s duty under Article 22 and Article 31 of the UNCRPD and will meet with relevant Departments.