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Question

241. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of times the oversight implementation group tasked with monitoring the progress of the comprehensive employment strategy for persons with disabilities has met since 2015. [5488/18]

242. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of each Department’s targets and obligations under the comprehensive employment strategy for persons with disabilities for each of the years from 2015 to 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5489/18]

243. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the six strategic priorities set out in the comprehensive employment strategy for persons with disabilities for the years 2015 to 2018. [5490/18]

244. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the chair of the implementation group tasked with monitoring the progress of the comprehensive employment strategy for persons with disabilities will publish an annual report for 2018. [5491/18]

245. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the progress that has been made in each government department further to the comprehensive employment strategy for persons with disabilities 2015 to 2025 commitment of increasing the public service employment target from 3% to 6%. [5492/18]

Answer

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): I propose to take Questions Nos. 241 to 245, inclusive, together.
The Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities 2015 – 2024 was launched in October 2015. The strategy sets out a ten-year approach to ensuring that people with disabilities who are able to and want to work are supported and enabled to do so.
It is underpinned by a cross-government approach that coordinates actions by different government departments and state agencies in a concerted effort to address the barriers and challenges that impact on the employment of people with disabilities. In tandem with the actions assigned to these departments and agencies, the strategy seeks to ensure there will be joined-up services and supports at local level to support individuals on their journey into and in employment.
The Strategy contains six strategic priorities:
- Build skills, capacity and independence;
- Provide bridges and supports into work;
- Make work pay;
- Promote job retention and re-entry to work;
- Provide coordinated and seamless support; and
- Engage employers
The strategy framework is accompanied by a detailed, phase-one three year action plan which has over 80 time-bound commitments that constitute the building blocks for the implementation of the full strategy. Implementation is subject to regular monitoring, and there will be a review and renewal every three years, with work on the first reiteration of the strategy expected to start in late 2018.
The Government has already taken a number of key decisions as recommended in the Strategy including:
- The public service employment target of people with disabilities will be increased on a phased basis as set out in the Strategy from 3% to 6% over the lifetime of the Strategy. The Department of Justice and Equality has recently developed proposals in relation to how this can be achieved and work will get underway in very early course.
- Special public service competitions for people with disabilities will be arranged and we will open up alternative recruitment channels for people with disabilities;
- A national help line and disability information service was established in January 2016 to provide expert guidance and peer support to employers in relation to the employment of staff with disabilities.
The Comprehensive Employment Strategy Implementation Group has met 13 times since the launch of the Strategy to review the progress of implementation. The Chair published his first Annual Report in early 2017 and will publish his second shortly. It will be available at http://justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/WP15000115 .