Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 13 Feb 1975

Vol. 278 No. 3

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Employment of the Blind.


asked the Minister for Health if the Board for the Employment of the Blind has ceased to recruit apprentices for its sheltered workshops in Rathmines, Dublin, for the past four years; whether the workforce has fallen from 70 to less than 50; and if, in view of the waiting list of those seeking employment, he will give an assurance that recruitment will take place to compensate for retirements.

As stated by the Deputy, the number of workers in the sheltered workshops for the blind has fallen in recent years from around 70 to about 50. The fall is mainly attributable to a low intake of new workers because of a large deficit in the running costs of the workshops and a consequent lack of funds.

Certain recommendations in regard to the future training of blind persons were made in the recently published report on the training and employment of the handicapped and I propose to seek the views of the Board for the Employment of the Blind and the National League of the Blind of Ireland on them before making a decision. In this connection I shall be examining the manner in which blind persons now seeking employment can be provided for as quickly as possible.

Is it not true that this happened some years ago, and is the Parliamentary Secretary saying now it is purely a matter of costs that the blind workshops will not take in the maximum number? Surely this is the type of industry the Minister for Health should be very happy to support with subvention?

I agree entirely with the Deputy. On 30th January the publication of the working party's report was announced and it was indicated that the Minister would discuss the recommendations in the report with the Board for the Employment of the Blind and the National League of the Blind of Ireland.

Before the change of Government methods were being discussed with the National League of the Blind of Ireland and other bodies with a view to getting some type of retraining, and positive steps were being taken over two years ago. We are now back to a report, back to where we were two years ago——

A question, please, Deputy.

Will the Parliamentary Secretary take every step available to him to bring up the employment content to a minimum of 70 in the Rathmines workshop?

The Deputy can have my assurance on that.

And, perhaps, he would give them a little more money too when he is at it.

That is another question.