The Department of Finance has responsibility for the 3 per cent quota in the Civil Service while my Department has responsibility for the quota in the public service. The Department and the Civil Service Commission announced the recent competition in order to notify people with disabilities of its existence. As regards numbers, Department of Finance officials and other civil servants who attended the official announcement of the competition predicted that more than 100 people could be recruited. However, it is a difficult figure to ascertain and people are guessing as it depends on the number of clerical officer vacancies in the various Departments. The competition was advertised on 28 September. People will be examined through the various mechanisms in November and the results will be issued at the end of January. People with disabilities will be recruited in the spring.
The Civil Service Commission has worked diligently to remove all the barriers involved in applying for these positions. Many people with disabilities may be well able to enter data in a computer. However, the difficulty may be in completing the application form for the job. They can telephone in their application forms and complete the examination through Braille and other mechanisms. It is important to note that people with disabilities can apply for all grades in the Civil Service provided they fulfil the regular entry requirements. They can enter through special panels, which have always existed. However, the focus of the special competition is to send a clear message to Irish people with a disability that we are openly recruiting clerical officers. There are vacancies and we want people with disabilities to fill them.