I propose to take Questions Nos. 169 and 170 together.
The Minister for Finance is responsible for the 3% target of employment of people with disabilities within the Civil Service. This target applies across the Civil Service and not just to individual Departments. As at December 2001 – the most recent figures available – the percentage of people with a disability in the Civil Service was 2.78%; the position in my Department and the Legal Aid Board was 2.61% and 2.29% respectively. I am informed that this figure may be somewhat higher as there are people with disabilities employed throughout the Civil Service who do not wish to declare their disability.
The Department of Finance wrote some time ago to all heads of Departments and offices to ensure that they are aware of their obligations and of the importance of reaching and maintaining the 3% target. For my part, I am anxious to ensure that this is achieved and my Department continues to liaise with the Civil Service Commission in an effort to recruit people with disabilities wherever possible.