Wardship system to be ended in April 2023

Wardship system to be ended in April 2023

Roderic O'Gorman

Ireland’s controversial wardship system will finally come to an end in April 2023, the government has said.

Roderic O’Gorman, the minister for children, equality, disability, integration and youth, and Anne Rabbitte, the minister of state for disability, have confirmed that 26 April 2023 has been selected for the the full commencement of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015.

The new Decision Support Service (DSS), part of the Mental Health Commission, will become fully operational on that date.

The wards of court system for adults, established under the Lunacy Regulation (Ireland) Act of 1871, will be abolished and replaced with a new graduated framework of supports aligned to an individual’s needs.

Dr John Hillery, chairman of the board of the Mental Health Commission, said: “We have all been waiting on the commencement of the 2015 Act that will change the lives of thousands of people in this State for the better.”

John Farrelly, chief executive of the Mental Health Commission, said: “This Act provides a legal basis for people who may have difficulty with their decision-making capacity. It also provides important tools for all of us, for advanced health care planning, and by way of enduring powers of attorney. So, the Act puts in place a regulated system of support that will match people with the support that meets their needs.”

Áine Flynn, director of the Decision Support Service, said: “This is a vitally important piece of legislation that many people have been waiting on and they can justifiably celebrate this morning, knowing that we now have a definite date to start the new service.

“The DSS is ready to open its doors, and we look forward to beginning to help people access the new service and all of the supports set out under the Act.”

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