Skip to main content
Normal View

Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 6 Dec 1979

Vol. 317 No. 6

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Employment Equality Agency.


asked the Minister for Labour the amount of the funds allocated to maintain the Employment Equality Agency so far this year and the amount paid to date; if it is intended to increase the grant to this agency in 1980; and, if so, the amount of the proposed increase.


asked the Minister for Labour if his attention has been drawn to the situation whereby the Employment Equality Agency is short staffed due to lack of funds, and if he will make a statement on the matter.


asked the Minister for Labour if he is aware of the difficulties under which the Employment Equality Agency is operating due to lack of staff and funds and the plans, if any, to improve this situation.

With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos 15, 16 and 17 together.

A provision of £95,000 was included in the Vote for Labour 1979 for the Employment Equality Agency. I have arranged to have an additional sum of £12,250 made available to the agency this year to cover increased staff costs and a contribution towards research. Payments to the Agency in the financial year to date amount to £72,250.

When I met the agency recently to discuss their work programme they sought substantially increased finance and additional staff for 1980. Their request will be considered by the Government when financial allocations for 1980 are being settled.

Has the Minister read the annual report of the Employment Equality Agency, and would he agree that the report is speckled with pleas for funds and in fact is an abject commentary on the commitment of the Government to equality?

I read the report, as the Deputy would expect, especially in relation to a report from an agency under my Department. I recently met the agency and they made certain requests and submissions. On being appointed, I was the first Minister to have provided, by way of Supplementary Estimate money for that agency. In other words, the agency has been established prior to the new Government being formed but no money provision had been made. There is a real Government commitment where there are no semantics.

Will this Minister show his commitment to employment equality by providing the agency with the funds and staff to do their job? Would he agree that the disparity between men and women in regard to opportunity and remuneration is far too great and is a scandal?

Substantial progress has been made in that area, but I agree more progress needs to be made. I commend the agency, its chairman and staff for their progress to date. As I said in my reply, when I met them recently they sought substantially increased finance. This request will be considered by the Government when financial allocations for 1980 are being settled.

As the new financial year is approaching, when will this decision be made?

The Deputy should be aware that I am not in that position because obviously this will be discussed at the Estimates meetings where the Government decide Exchequer spending.


asked the Minister for Labour if a person (details supplied) has visited Dublin at the request of the Employment Equality Agency; if so, the work, if any, he has done for the agency; and the circumstances in which he came to be invited to Dublin.

The person to whom the question refers is an American academic who visited Dublin in February-March 1979 to advise the Employment Equality Agency on an aspect of the agency's day-to-day work, namely, the range of statistics to be collected for the purpose of monitoring progress towards equal pay and equal opportunity.

The visit resulted from discussions which the chairperson of the agency had with representatives of the German Marshall Fund, an American institution which financed the visit.

Would the Minister not agree that the annual report of the Employment Equality Agency implies that the chairperson of that agency had to go begging to the United States to get somebody to carry out research which should have been properly done by the Government?

I commend the chairperson for availing of any funds available. Is the Deputy saying that the agency were wrong in availing of funds that were available from the German Marshall Fund to carry out research in this very important area?

I am sympathising with the chairperson having to go begging to the United States simply because the Minister will not give her funds. Will the Minister provide the necessary funds to obviate the need for this in future?

I answered that in the previous question.