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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 7 May 2003

Vol. 566 No. 1

Written Answers. - Departmental Staff.

David Stanton


249 Mr. Stanton asked the Minister for Finance the policy of his Department with regard to the employment of persons with disabilities; the actions that have been taken to encourage, enable and assist people with disabilities to gain employment in his Department and in bodies under the aegis of his Department; the current situation with regard to persons with disabilities employed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12147/03]

The Government has a 3% target for the employment of people in the civil and public service. The Department of Finance is responsible for the operation of the target in the Civil Service, while the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform deals with policy for the public service. The 3% target, which was established in 1977, has been a key element of Government policy for people with disabilities. It has provided significant employment opportunities for people with disabilities, which might not otherwise be available.

In the Department of Finance, the percentage of staff with a disability employed at present is 3%, or 20 people out of a total staff of 689. The 3% target has been met and sometimes exceeded in my Department every year since 1997 as follows:













My Department's policy in relation to staff members with disabilities is set out in the departmental policy on equality and diversity. The Department is committed to ensuring that the needs of disabled staff are fully taken into account in the formulation and implementation of all aspects of human resource management policy. This includes assignment, promotion, training and treatment generally. A number of improvements in relation to facilitating disabled member of staff have been made in recent years. These include improved access, information technology support to individual members of staff, the provision of specialised telephone equipment, the identification of specific posts for visually impaired staff and the provision of a designated disability liaison officer to provide support to disabled staff.
The Programme for Prosperity and Fairness committed the Department to reviewing the operation of the 3% employment target throughout the Civil Service. The Department of Finance commissioned Goodbody Economic Consultants to carry out research. The report is now available and provides much useful information about the position of people with a disability working in the Civil Service. The report makes recommendations for practical steps, which can be taken to improve career prospects for people with a disability.
The Civil Service equality unit in the Department of Finance and the staff unions are now considering the proposals in detail with a view to improving the existing policy for the benefit of people with disability throughout their careers in the Civil Service.