Written Answers. - Employment Equality.

Paul McGrath

Question:

169 Mr. P. McGrath asked the Taoiseach his views on whether the Attorney General's office, the Chief State Solicitor's office and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions have all failed to achieve the 3% target for the employment of disabled persons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3833/03]

Paul McGrath

Question:

170 Mr. P. McGrath asked the Taoiseach his views on whether his Department has failed to achieve the 3% target for the employment of disabled persons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3821/03]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 169 and 170 together.

The Minister for Finance is responsible for the 3% target of employment of people with disabilities within the Civil Service. This target applies across the Civil Service and not just to individual Departments. As at December 2001 – the most recent figures available – the percentage of people with a disability in the Civil Service was 2.78%; the position in my Department and the Legal Aid Board was 2.61% and 2.29% respectively. I am informed that this figure may be somewhat higher as there are people with disabilities employed throughout the Civil Service who do not wish to declare their disability.

The Department of Finance wrote some time ago to all heads of Departments and offices to ensure that they are aware of their obligations and of the importance of reaching and maintaining the 3% target. For my part, I am anxious to ensure that this is achieved and my Department continues to liaise with the Civil Service Commission in an effort to recruit people with disabilities wherever possible.

The Deputy may also be interested to note that in light of the commitment in the PPF and in order to establish how to improve adherence to the target, 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 in early 2003. The research maps out the current arrangements in respect of career progression for people with disabilities, highlights the challenges they face when seeking to progress their careers and makes recommendations for a model of best practice in this area for the future. I look forward to reviewing its findings in due course.