Dáil Éireann - Volume 433 - 29 June, 1993
Written Answers. - Employment of Disabled.
Mr. N. Ahern Mr. N. Ahern
228. Mr. N. Ahern asked the Minister for Equality and Law Reform the way in which it is proposed to achieve the Government's policy of giving a percentage of jobs in the public service to applicants with disabilities; and the advice or instruction he will give an individual with a disability who wishes to apply for public service employment under the Government policy.
Minister for Equality and Law Reform (Mr. Taylor) Mervyn Taylor
Minister for Equality and Law Reform (Mr. Taylor): In 1977, the Government introduced a 3 per cent quota for those with a physical or other disability for employment in the public service. Unfortunately, this 3 per cent target has not yet been met and unemployment among people with disabilities is now estimated at 80 per cent.
The Programme for a Partnership Government provides that the Government will give a lead by honouring the  pledge in the public sector and that serious consideration will be given to formulating legislation for an employment quota throughout the economy. I intend to have this issue included in the agenda for future talks between the Government and the social partners.
Recent statistics which have been compiled in my Department show that while some Government Departments have complied with the Government directive, unfortunately others have not. I am writing to the Ministers whose Departments have not reached the quota to ask that immediate steps be taken to ensure that it is fully honoured. I have already raised the issue with the Ministers for Health and the Environment. I have asked them to let me know what plans, if any, each health board and local authority has to increase the proportion of people with disabilities in their employment.
It is intended to hold recruitment competitions for Clerical Assistant (disabled) and Blind Telephonist in the Civil Service later this year or early next year. In addition, it is intended to include a special recruitment competition for disabled people in the next Executive Officer competition.
The appointment of people to subordinate grades is a matter for each individual Minister. Departments have been instructed to ask the National Rehabilitation Board to nominate some suitable candidates and to give priority to them. The final selection, however, rests with each Minister.
People with disabilities are not restricted to special competitions. It is open to anyone to apply for any open recruitment competition for which they are eligible and many people with disabilities have been recruited by these means over the years. Once notified in advance of special needs, the Civil Service Commission will make special arrangements to facilitate candidates wherever at all possible.
While the emphasis for some time has been on the achievement of the target quota, it is also important to ensure equality of treatment between staff with and without disabilities once in employment. The introduction of a code of practice  for the Employment of People with Disabilities in the Civil Service has been the subject of discussions at a subcommittee of General Council. A draft code has now been prepared and is being considered by the staff side representatives.
The code of practice will cover issues such as recruitment, reception and integration into the workplace, career development, accommodation and equipment and safety and evacuation procedures. The ideas for the code of practice were developed in conjunction with the Civil Service unions, relevant voluntary bodies and consultation with staff with disabilities.
I would urge all people with a disability to register with the National Rehabilitation Board and to apply for competitions for employment as they arise.
Dáil Éireann 433 Written Answers. Employment of Disabled.