Dáil Éireann - Volume 410 - 02 July, 1991

Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Task Force on Employment.

5. Proinsias De Rossa asked the Taoiseach the reason only one woman was appointed to the 22 member Task Force on Employment, especially in view of the recommendations contained in the first statement to the Government of the Commission on the Status of Women regarding the need for the appointment of more women to such bodies; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

6. Proinsias De Rossa asked the Taoiseach whether any deadline has been set for the completion of the work of the Task Force on Employment; if he will outline to whom the task force will be reporting; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 5 and 6 together.

The Task Force on Employment have been established under the Central Review Committee of the Programme for Economic and Social Progress to monitor the job situation under the programme and explore all possibilities for new job creation. The membership of the task force comprises nominees of the social partners who are parties to the programme apart from the secretaries of the Departments of Finance, Labour and Industry and Commerce and the chief executives of Aer Rianta, the ESB, Telecom Éireann, CTT and the IDA. The question of nominating women, therefore, was a matter for the social partners and not for the Government.

No deadline has been set for the completion of the work of the Task Force on Employment. The task force will report to the Central Review Committee of the Programme for Economic and Social Progress. The task force have already identified one area for action. They estimated that £1 billion of products and components could be made in Ireland to [167] meet the annual needs and specifications of the multinational companies in Ireland and asked me to discuss with the commercial State companies their undertaking a programme to produce these products and components.

Proinsias De Rossa: In view of the report on the number of women on the boards of semi-State organisations and the indication that either 59 or 69 such bodies had no women members at all, did the Taoiseach in establishing the task force tell the social partners that he would like women representation among the nominees, given that the task force are Government established?

The Taoiseach: I did not take that specific action. That is a matter for the individual semi-State bodies. As the Deputy knows, the Construction Industry Federation did include a women in their delegation. We would all have wished for the task force to include more women but, unfortunately, because of the way it is structured, it was not possible to do that. I shall certainly keep an eye on the matter and ascertain whether suitable women can be attached to the task force.

Proinsias De Rossa: In relation to my second question, Question No. 6, since the Taoiseach has not fixed a deadline by which the task force should report, has he in mind any timescale within which the task force should report given the urgency of the unemployment problem?

The Taoiseach: The final phrase used by the Deputy gives the key to the issue. Because of the urgency of the problem, I expect the task force to report right along the line; in fact, as the Deputy knows, they have already submitted one report to me on the supply of components and products of the multinationals. The task force made the recommendation at their first meeting and that is the way I should expect them to do their business.

Mr. J. Bruton: Would the Taoiseach not agree that Cabinet itself should be [168] the Task Force on Employment? Would he not further agree that the fact that, after four years in office, the Cabinet had to establish a task force to do their work in an area of policy formation is, to a certain extent, an admission of failure on the part of the Government?

The Taoiseach: No, I would not agree. Most reasonable people would recognise the establishment of the task force as an enlightened step and a constructive approach. In fact, all those involved see it as such. There is great enthusiasm among the members of the task force for their job, and I do expect concrete results from them.