Dáil Éireann - Volume 610 - 15 November, 2005

Written Answers. - Departmental Staff.

  354. Mr. Carey asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the percentage of persons with disabilities employed in his Department and in each body under his aegis; the guidelines issued by which this data is to be [289] recorded in the public service; the nature of the disabilities; the levels of employment; the percentage of the total numbers of persons with disabilities in each sector who are holders of third level qualifications; the precise definition of disability which is used in the public service to meet the 3% quota; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34145/05]

  Mr. Martin: All Departments are required to meet a 3% minimum target for the employment of people with disabilities. The policy with regard to the 3% target for the employment of people with disabilities in the Civil Service is the responsibility of my colleague, the Minister for Finance.

My Department currently exceeds the minimum requirement, with 4.27% disabled people currently employed. In addition, all the agencies under the aegis of my Department are fully aware of their obligations and the majority have reached the 3% target.

With regard to information on the nature of the disabilities, grade or specific qualifications held, this data is not collected for the purposes of the 3% target. In any case, given that this data would contain personal information, it would not be appropriate to release it.

However, I understand that independent research carried out on the operation of the 3% target in the Civil Service found that the most common disabilities are physical and sensory and one third of people acquired their disability since joining the service. The research also found that people with disabilities are employed at all levels of Departments, though there are proportionately more people with a disability at the lower grades.

With regard to educational qualifications, the research found that people joining the service with a disability tend to have slightly lower qualifications than other people, but are more likely to work to improve their qualifications. In this regard, I understand from the research that the proportion of civil servants with a disability studying for a third level qualification is almost twice the proportion of civil servants in similar studies without a disability.

The guidelines followed for monitoring the employment of people with disabilities by public bodies are set out in the Code of Practice for the Civil Service, 1994. The code defines a person with a disability for the purposes of the 3% target. In this regard, the phrase “people with disabilities” means people with a physical, sensory or psychological impairment which may “have a tangible impact on their functional capability to do a particular job; or have an impact on their ability to function in a particular physical environment; or lead to a discrimination in obtaining or keeping employment of a kind for which they would otherwise be suited”.