I thank Deputy Moynihan for his question and ongoing interest in matters relating to people with disabilities. My Department is committed to inclusion with equality of opportunity for all, regardless of disability, gender, civil or family status, sexual orientation, religious belief, age, race or membership of the Traveller community.
In particular, my Department leads the Government’s corporate social responsibility agenda and works with businesses through our national corporate social responsibility action plan. This was developed through collaboration with major business stakeholders. The plan seeks to, among other things, encourage business to develop strategies for the employment of people with disabilities.
While responsibility for policy on disability inclusion lies with the new Department with responsibility for children, disability, equality and integration, this is an area of vital importance to the work of all Departments. The new Department leads on two whole-of-government national strategies, the first being the national disability inclusion strategy and the second the comprehensive employment strategy for people with a disability.
My Department is represented on the implementation groups for both of these strategies and has committed to a number of actions to promote the inclusion of people with a disability in the workforce. For example, Enterprise Ireland is in the process of creating a strategy which will promote and support entrepreneurship and self-employment for people with a disability. IDA Ireland is developing a pilot initiative in co-operation with other Government bodies and stakeholders aimed at enhancing the ability of job candidates with disabilities to avail of employment opportunities in foreign-owned companies based in Ireland.
My Department has also established a disability consultative committee to provide a focus for disability inclusion in respect of our policy work, schemes and initiatives. Members of the committee include nominated representatives of disability groups, along with Department officials and colleagues from our offices and agencies.
Our Department has two access officers. They are specially assigned staff members responsible for co-ordinating assistance and guidance for people with disabilities, helping them to access, to the widest possible extent, the full range of services that we provide, including how best to access our buildings as well as the range of publications in alternate formats that we have available.