Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Questions (227, 228)

Brendan Ryan

Question:

227. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number or percentage of employees in his Department and in the agencies under his aegis with intellectual disabilities; his plans to increase this number to promote and support the employment of persons with intellectual disabilities as outlined in the Disability Act 2005; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17491/19]

View answer

Brendan Ryan

Question:

228. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his Department and the agencies under his aegis track the numbers of employees they have with an intellectual disability; his plans to do so in order to help set targets and increase workplace opportunities for those with intellectual disabilities such as those outlined in the national disability inclusion strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17508/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 227 and 228 together.

As the Deputy will be aware, Part 5 of the Disability Act 2005 provides for a statutory report on the employment of people with disabilities in the public sector.  This report is compiled by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, from information provided by all public bodies staffed by civil servants, and gives details of the number of people with a disability employed in the Civil Service. This report is submitted to the National Disability Authority (NDA). 

I can inform the Deputy that the proportion of staff with a disability employed in my Department was 5.9% in 2018, which exceeds the Government's 3% target for the employment of people with disabilities.  I have asked those offices and agencies under the aegis of my Department whose staff are not Department employees to respond directly to the Deputy with their most up to date information.

I would also note that An Garda Síochána and the Irish Prison Service (prison officers) are exempt under the reporting provisions of the Act. 

My Department does not have data regarding the number of staff with an intellectual disability.  The distinction between a physical and intellectual disability is not captured when staff report a disability.

My Department is fully committed to the employment of people with disabilities.  Our policy is to ensure that people with disabilities are facilitated with access to employment opportunities and every necessary accommodation is made in this regard.  My Department's commitment to the employment of people with disabilities is further underlined by its active participation in the Willing Able Mentoring Programme, a work experience programme for graduates with disabilities, under which there are currently 2 placements and we are seeking to facilitate a further 2 participants in 2019. 

On a broader level, the Government's Comprehensive Employment Strategy (CES) for Persons with Disabilities 2015 - 2024  sets out a ten-year cross-Government approach to ensuring that people with disabilities who are able to, and want to work are supported and enabled to do so, with different Departments and State agencies acting in a concerted effort to address the barriers and challenges that impact on employment of people with disabilities.

One of the key priorities of the Comprehensive Employment Strategy is to increase the statutory target of persons with disabilities employed in our public services from 3% to 6% on a phased basis by January 2024.  To give effect to this commitment, legislative proposals are currently being progressed through the Oireachtas as part of the Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016.