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Written Answers. - Employment Equality Policy.

Thursday, 17 October 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 555 No. 4

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 28. Mr. M. Higgins Information on Michael D. Higgins Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform Information on Michael McDowell Zoom on Michael McDowell  the progress made in reaching the 3% target of people with disabilities employed in Government Departments and other public bodies; the percentages employed in each Department, health board and local authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18518/02]

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. McDowell): Information on Michael McDowell Zoom on Michael McDowell My Department provides a focal point for disability equality policy and legislation development. As part of that remit, my Department collects data in relation to the 3% target for employment of people with disabilities in the public service, excluding the Civil Service data which is collected by the equality unit in the Department of Finance. Although the target has yet to be achieved, there has been a degree of progress over the last number of years. The overall statistics for the public service other than the Civil Service at 1 January each year are as follows:

Year %
1998 1.52%
1999 1.72%
2000 1.89%
2001 2.13%

The figures given for January 2000 and January 2001 are provisional figures as returns are outstanding from a number of individual public service bodies. Disaggregated figures for each Government Department, each health board and each local authority are set out in the following tables appended.

The 3% target for the employment of people with disabilities is a Government led positive action initiative that applies in over 200 public service bodies, varying in size and diversity of jobs and the range of work involved. Public service bodies may have staff levels ranging from one to 10,000 employees.

Some public service bodies have exceeded the target. However, it is recognised that there are other bodies that have performed poorly. Under a Government commitment in the PPF, every Department is required to take appropriate action to ensure that agencies under its aegis achieve the 3% target for the employment of people with disabilities in the public service at an early date.

A monitoring committee established and chaired by my Department, continues to monitor and guide progress. It has supported a number of initiatives over the last two years including: approval of a draft code of practice for use [1142] in the public service and exploration of the options for common selection procedures for people with disabilities; raising awareness of the 3% target among, and giving information to, chief executives, personnel officers and disability equality officers in the public service through a series of eight regional seminars, and publication of an information brochure; publication of a brochure designed to encourage people with disabilities to consider a career in the public service and promotion of this at the public sector careers expo in April 2001; commissioned research on the issues and barriers relating to achievement of the target in six public service organisations. This report provides an insight into some of the issues which hinder progress and includes recommendations to assist future progress.

My colleague, the Minister for Finance, is responsible for the 3% target of employment of people with disabilities within the Civil Service. The Programme for Prosperity and Fairness included a commitment to a review of the employment of people with a disability in the Civil Service to ascertain ongoing adherence to the 3% employment quota. As at December 2001, the percentage of people with a disability in the Civil Service was 2.78%. A table setting out the percentage of people with a disability in each Government Department and office as at December 2001 is attached. The overall percentage has increased slightly since December 2000, when it stood at 2.58%, but the fact that the percentage has dropped below 3% is a cause for concern. The Department of Finance has written to all the heads of Departments and offices to ensure that they are aware of their legal obligations and of the importance of reaching and maintaining the 3% target.

In light of the commitment in the PPF and in order to establish how to improve adherence to the quota, the Department of Finance, in partnership with the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform and the Civil Service Commission, commissioned a study on the career progression of people with a disability in the Irish Civil Service. The research is completed and will be published by December 2002. The research will map out the current arrangements in respect of career progression for people with disabilities, highlight the challenges they face when seeking to progress their careers and make detailed recommendations for a model of best practice in this area for the future.

All Departments are required to appoint a disability liaison officer to act on behalf of people with disabilities within Departments. In 2001, the Department of Finance established a network of disability liaison officers which meets regularly. A programme of special training for all disability liaison officers and human resource managers in Departments was held in March and April 2002.

[1143] Health Agencies. (figures at 1 January 2001)

Name of Body Percentage of workforce with disabilities
Eastern Regional Health Authority 0.31%
Midland Health Board 2.49%
Mid-Western Health Board 0.37%
North-Eastern Health Board 0.88%
North-Western Health Board 1.72%
South-Eastern Health Board 2.20%
Southern Health Board 3.47%
Western Health Board 2.33%
Total 1.70%

Local Authorities. (figures at 1 January 2001)

Name of Authority Percentage of workforce with disabilities
County Councils
Carlow 1.84%
Cavan 1.13%
Clare 3.03%
Cork 2.44%
Donegal 0.45%
Dun Laoghaire Rathdown 2.20%
Fingal 3.38%
Galway 2.24%
Kerry 4.64%
Kildare 1.32%
Kilkenny 2.88%
Laois 3.24%
Leitrim 1.15%
Limerick 3.23%
Longford 2.50%
Louth 2.90%
Mayo 5.12%
Meath 2.48%
Monaghan 0.27%
Offaly 1.27%
Roscommon 3.14%
Sligo 2.42%
South Dublin 0.33%
Tipperary (NR) 1.12%
Tipperary (SR) 2.94%
Waterford 2.72%
Westmeath 1.83%
Wexford 2.70%
Wicklow 0.93%
County Borough Corporations
Cork 3.83%
Dublin 4.37%
Galway 0.58%
Limerick 5.13%
Waterford 6.80%
Total 2.96%

Civil Service Figures at 31 December 2001

Department/Office NoDisabledStaff No'sServing %DisabledStaff
Agriculture and Food 123 4,660 2.64
Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands 31 884 3.51
Attorney General 1 101 0.99

[1144] Department/Office NoDisabledStaff No'sServing %DisabledStaff
Central Statistics Office 38 682 5.57
Chief State Solicitor 2 247 0.81
Civil Service Commission 6 198 3.03
Comptroller and Auditor General 1 117 0.85
Courts Service 29 1,038 2.79
Defence 21 467 4.50
Director of Public Prosecutions 1 60 1.67
Education and Science 32 1,243 2.57
Enterprise, Trade and Employment 40 1,072 3.73
Environment and Local Government 30 951 3.15
Finance 22 638 3.45
Foreign Affairs 28 940 2.98
Health and Children 16 591 2.71
Justice, Equality and Law Reform 67 2,565 2.61
Land Registry 23 622 3.70
*Legal Aid Board 7 305 2.29
Marine and Natural Resources 18 474 3.80
Office of Public Works 20 579 3.45
Oireachtas 4 319 1.25
Ombudsman 2 73 2.74
Ordnance Survey 7 322 2.17
Presidents Establishment 0 20 0.00
Public Enterprise 30 683 4.39
Revenue Commissioners 142 6,904 2.06
Social, Community and Family Affairs 135 4,803 2.81
State Laboratory 1 87 1.15
Taoiseach 6 217 2.76
Tourism, Sport and Recreation 1 114 0.88
Valuation Office 7 125 5.60
Total 891 32,101 2.78


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