Thursday, 24 September 2020

Questions (210)

Holly Cairns


210. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Justice her plans to address the poverty rates of persons with disabilities which is 10% higher here than the EU average; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26220/20]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Programme for Government includes a commitment to the rigorous implementation of the Roadmap for Social Inclusion 2020-2025: Ambition, Goals, Commitments, which was agreed by Government and published in January 2020.

The Roadmap contains a specific target for the reduction of the ‘At Risk of Poverty and Social Exclusion’ (AROPE) rate for people with a disability to 28.7% in 2025, with a further reduction to 22.7% by 2030. It also includes commitments relating to the restructuring and simplification of long term disability payments and the publication of a report with recommendations on the cost of disability. The Roadmap recognises that existing strategies, such as the National Disability Inclusion Strategy 2017 - 2021 (NDIS), include social inclusion as a core objective and does not seek to duplicate these strategies. It does however set a level of ambition to inform and be reflected in sectoral plans and strategies as they are renewed and updated over the coming years.

Additionally, one of the key actions contained in the Roadmap is the continued implementation by Government of the NDIS and the Comprehensive Employment Strategy 2015 - 2024 (CES) and their renewal.

The NDIS, which is coordinated by my Department, is the key framework for policy and action to address the needs of people with disabilities. The Strategy takes a whole of Government approach to improving the lives of people with disabilities and contains a suite of specific, targeted actions aimed at improving the lives of people with disabilities both in a practical sense, and also in creating the best possible opportunities for people with disabilities in key areas including employment, education, and joined up public services. Implementation of the Strategy is monitored quarterly by a Steering Committee, which is chaired by my colleague Minister Rabbitte, Minister of State with responsibility for Disability at the Department of Health and the Department of Justice.

In tandem with the NDIS, the CES, which is also overseen by my Department, includes positive action measures to support the recruitment of people with disabilities in the public service and in the wider economy. It sets out a ten-year approach to ensuring that people with disabilities who are able to, and want to work are supported and enabled to do so.

These matters are part of the Equality brief which will be transferring to my colleague Minister O'Gorman in the coming weeks.