Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Departmental Staff.

Jim Mitchell

Question:

12 Mr. J. Mitchell asked the Minister for Labour the total number of civil servants in each grade in his Department; the percentage in each grade which are women; and if there are any policies to positively discriminate in favour of women in order to improve the ratio.

The number of civil servants in each grade in my Department, exclusive of officers on secondment and working outside the Department, and the percentage in each grade which are women are set out in the tabular statement which will be circulated in the Official Report.

Equal opportunity policies for staff in my Department are based on the equal opportunity policy and guidelines in the Civil Service. I am personally committed to the principle of equality for all staff on the basis of individual merit and ability, regardless of sex, marital status and other non-merit factors. It is my Department's policy to optimise the effective use of human resources in the best interests of both the individual and the Department. To this end, my Department have been examining how they might improve on equal opportunity policy in relation to their staff.

The Department are currently considering the outcome of a series of workshops on equal treatment of staff which it organised for supervisory staff in conjunction with the Department of Finance.

Grade

No. of females in each grade

Percentage in each grade which are female

Total number in each grade

Secretary

1

Assistant Secretary

3

Principal Officer

10

Assistant Principal

9

36

25

Information Officer

1

Senior Industrial Relations Officer

1

Administrative Officer

2

100

2

Higher Executive Officer

18

43

42

Executive Officer

22½

46

49(1)

*Staff Officer

6

86

7(2)

Supervisory Agricultural Officer

1

Clerical Officer

33

77

43

Clerical Assistant

38

84

45

Paperkeeper

5

Head Messenger

1

Messenger

11

Services Attendant

1

Cleaner

5

83

6

(1)½ denotes job-sharing situation.

(2)*includes Superintendent of Typists.

As the Minister responsible for equal opportunities legislation, would the Minister not accept that he has a particular responsibility to try to discriminate positively in favour of women to allow them to pursue their careers more fully? Would he not also agree that the record of his Department is as bad as that of every other Department of State or in some instances worse?

No, I would not agree. My personal record in that area is probably one of the best in the whole Government. That is generally known and can be taken in conjunction with all the other initiatives I have undertaken on the equality area. In the past ten days four different aspects have arisen. The question of positive discrimination in favour of women or men is contrary to the provisions of the Employment Equality Act, 1977, but section 15 does allow positive measures to be undertaken specifically in regard to training where a particular sex is under-represented. In that area we have been making significant progress within the Civil Service and the semi-State and private sectors.