Government urged to change outdated lunacy law

Disability rights groups are calling on the Government to replace Ireland's outdated lunacy laws with more humane legal structures that allow people to make decisions for themselves.

Currently under the Lunacy Act - which dates from the 1800s - some older people or people with disabilities who are ward of court - have no say in matters that affect them.

This can include decisions about where they live, what they eat, what they spend money on and what health procedures they should undergo.

An alliance of groups working with "wards of court" want the Government to pass a new law called the Assisted Decision Making Bill.

Dr Eilionoir Flynn of NUI Galway explains how the new law would work.

"The person will be allowed to nominate a supporter, somebody that they trust, and this person can be called a decision-making assistant," she said.

"They will enter into a legally-binding agreement, that will say: 'This assistant supports me in making decisions around…' and it can list the number of areas of life the person likes to have support in making decisions on."


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