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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 12 Mar 2003

Vol. 563 No. 2

Written Answers - Services for People with Disabilities.

Finian McGrath


151 Mr. F. McGrath asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if his attention has been drawn to the fact that unemployment for people with physical disabilities is 70% while the general population rate is 5%; and the plans the Government has to deal with this injustice. [7262/03]

While my Department has a key role in the development of disability equality policy and legislation it is not directly involved in the provision of services for people with disabilities or with labour market policy generally. In June 2000, my Department oversaw the introduction of the policy of mainstreaming in the delivery of services for people with disabilities. This placed responsibility for the provision of services to people with disabilities within the remit of the same bodies that provide the services generally. The Deputy will be aware that the responsibility for promoting enterprise and employment development lies with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. In addition the Department of Social and Family Affairs also facilitates access to available training, education and employment for people with disabilities. Prior to the mainstreaming of services the National Rehabilitation Board provided a range of services for people with disabilities and on its dissolution, FÁS and Comhairle received additional resources in terms of both staff and premises to facilitate their work in this regard.

The introduction of mainstreaming has resulted in the establishment of an integrated approach across all Departments and State agencies to policy development and service provision for people with disabilities. At the same time, my Department has established the National Disability Authority, NDA, as an agency which includes in its functions the support and monitoring of the implementation of standards in services for people with disabilities.

Question No. 152 answered with Question No. 142.