Dáil Éireann - Volume 393 - 14 November, 1989

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Status of Women.

7. Mr. Quinn asked the Taoiseach, in respect of women's affairs for which his Department have responsibility, if he will indicate the following: (i) the terms of reference of his role (ii) the budget allocation which he has to carry out his functions (iii) the total staff involved both full-time and part-time in carrying out his functions and (iv) whether he intends to publish a White Paper or policy document outlining the activities which he will pursue; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

The Taoiseach: The achievement of equal status and equal opportunities for women is a matter which arises across the whole range of Government policy-making. For this reason, the terms of reference of all members of the Government are to advance the position and status of women in all aspects of their responsibilities. My Department's role, which is exercised by Minister of State, Deputy Geoghegan-Quinn, is to monitor and co-ordinate the implementation of equality between women and men in all areas of Government policy. My Department also make an annual grant to the Council for the Status of Women amounting in the current year to £93,000.

[9] The economic and social policy division of my Department, which has a total staff complement of 11 persons, has responsibility for reporting to the Minister of State in respect of her monitoring role in this area as well as for a wide range of other functions in the economic and social fields.

In addition to the responsibilities of all Ministers and of the Minister of State to which I have referred, the Government are committed to the establishment of a second Commission on the Status of Women to draw up a set of programmes and measures to continue the work of achieving equality and promoting the status of women. The different aspects of the establishment of the commission are under consideration.

Mr. Quinn: I thank the Taoiseach for his reply. I would like clarification on three points if he has the information available. Do I take it that other than the specific grant of £93,000 to the Council for the Status of Women there is no other money specifically ear-marked for women's affairs and that this section is combined with other functions for which the Minister of State has responsibility? Is that a correct interpretation of the Taoiseach's reply?

The Taoiseach: I would have to think about it, but I think that is probably the position.

Mr. Quinn: Do I take it that there are no proposals at present for the Government to publish a White Paper or policy document outlining the priorities or activities which the women's affairs section of your Department might pursue over the next number of years?

The Taoiseach: I think the Deputy might agree with me that the establishment of a second commission might be the best way to proceed in that area.

Mr. Quinn: I would not disagree with that. Is the Taoiseach in a position to say when such a commission may be established?

[10] The Taoiseach: It is under very active consideration at the moment.

Mr. Quinn: Like a lot of things.