Dáil Éireann - Volume 589 - 07 October, 2004

Written Answers. - Disability Bill.

  35. Mr. Broughan asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the main features of the outline sectoral plan for his Department arising from the disability package announced by the Government on 21 September 2004; the specific measures that will be taken by his Department; the funding which been allocated within his Department for this purpose; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23643/04]

  Mr. Killeen: Under the Disability Bill 2004 my Department is one of six Departments required to draw up sectoral plans, as part of the national disability strategy for positive action measures to support participation by people with disabilities in Irish society.

The key focus of the outline sectoral plan developed by my Department is to facilitate and improve access to vocational training and employment opportunities for persons with disabilities, in the belief that employment offers the [1615] best means for them to participate fully in the social, cultural and economic life of the country.

The outline sectoral plan includes a number of commitments entered into in the context of the Disability Bill 2004, relating to disability awareness training, physical access, information provision and access, and complaints and redress.

The outline sectoral plan highlights a number of planned labour market policy initiatives aimed at ensuring equal opportunities for people with disabilities including: a FÁS action plan for provision of specialist vocational training; implementation by FÁS of new criteria for supported employment services for people with disabilities; a review of the workway initiative; and a proposal to introduce a new full-time employment support scheme for the employment of people with disabilities that would provide incentives to both employees and employers subject to funding being provided.

As provided for in the Bill, details of the outline sectoral plans are subject to consultation with relevant interest groups before completion and presentation to Dáil Éireann within a year of commencement of Part 3 of the legislation. The Bill provides that the plans will come into effect subject to a positive resolution by Dáil Éireann.

Subject to the above, a decision relating to funding in respect of initiatives contained in the agreed plan for my Department will be taken as part of the Estimates and budgetary process.