Dáil Éireann - Volume 387 - 21 February, 1989
Written Answers. - Mental Handicap Policy.
Mr. Spring Mr. Spring
114. Mr. Spring asked the Minister for Health if he accepts that his Department has overall responsibility for the development and implementation of policy in relation to the training and employment of mentally handicapped people.
Mr. Spring Mr. Spring
124. Mr. Spring asked the Minister for Health the steps he has taken towards the development of a national policy in relation to the training and employment of mentally handicapped people; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Health (Dr. O'Hanlon) Rory O'Hanlon
Minister for Health (Dr. O'Hanlon): I propose to take Questions Nos. 114 and 124 together.
In accordance with section 68 of the Health Act, 1970 health boards have an obligation to make available a service for the training of disabled persons for employment and for the making of arrangements with employers for placing disabled persons in employment. Health boards fulfil this obligation by providing such services themselves or by giving financial assistance to voluntary organisations to do so on their behalf. Training  and employment is provided in centres and workshops which cater for a range of disabilities as well as in specialised mental handicap workshops.
The Commission of Inquiry on Mental Handicap which reported in 1965 made a number of recommendations in relation to training and employment. A more comprehensive report in relation to training and employing the handicapped generally was presented to the Minister for Health in 1974. The recommendations in the that report form the basis of official policy in this area. The services continue to be enhanced and expanded as resources permit. Occupational provision is also one of the aspects of mental handicap services which is being considered by the current review group on mental handicap.
The National Rehabilitation Board has a general co-ordinating function in relation to the statutory and voluntary organisations involved in training and placement. It also provides a number of services for disabled people, including the assessment of disabled persons for vocational training, their placement in the training centre best suited to their needs and placing them in employment following training.
My Department, in consultation with the National Rehabilitation Board, continuously monitors the services in question.
Dáil Éireann 387 Written Answers. Mental Handicap Policy.