Thursday, 7 February 2019

Ceisteanna (58)

David Cullinane


58. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the arrangements Irish Aid has made in recent years to encourage disabled volunteers as part of the volunteer rosters maintained by his Department; the way in which Irish Aid staff would respond to an issue requiring consideration of an accommodation which was raised by a disabled volunteer; the training provided to desk staff on disability and public sector equality duties; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6197/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

The Development Cooperation and Africa Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade facilitates participation in a range of volunteering opportunities overseas. Typically these opportunities involve placement with, or by, third party organisations, and are facilitated by the Department through a range of rosters, registers, initiatives and programmes. Depending on the role and local context, volunteers may need to be able to operate in challenging circumstances.

Where prospective volunteers with a disability request that a reasonable accommodation arrangement be made, including to facilitate their mustering as a volunteer, my Department will liaise with the individual and the third party organisation concerned with a view to determining whether a reasonable accommodation can be made having regard to the specific circumstance of the individual and the nature of the volunteering role envisaged.

More broadly, Ireland's policy on overseas volunteering is set out in the Volunteering Initiative, which promotes skills-based, sustainable volunteering overseas, working in partnership with third parties. The forthcoming launch of a new White Paper on International Development provides an opportunity to review our approach to overseas volunteering to ensure that it keeps pace with the evolving discourse on volunteering for development, and also with the development of best practice on promoting equality and diversity at home and abroad. The Department will consult with relevant stakeholders to take this work forward.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provides regular training for staff members on diversity and equality matters, including at induction training and specific training on unconscious bias.