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Number of public sector jobs for people with disabilities to double

Source: irishtimes.com

The Government wants to double the percentage of people with disabilities working in the public sector.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny launched the Government’s employment strategy for people with disabilities at Farmleigh in Dublin.

The public service employment target of people with disabilities is to be increased on a phased basis from three to six per cent. Special public service competitions for people with disabilities will be arranged and alternative recruitment channels will be opened up for people with disabilities.

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton, Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald and Minister of State with responsibility for disability policy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin also attended the event.

Barnardos chief executive Fergus Finlay will chair a group to oversee the implementation of the strategy.

Mr Kenny said Ireland had “come a long way from the dark days when having a disability banished men, women and children to the margins of society”.

He said disabled people had been seen, “if they were lucky”, in the past but “they were so very rarely heard”.

Disabled people were forced to live their lives defined by their disability rather than the “myriad possibilities” of their ability.

Mr Kenny said disabled people should now be part of the national task of getting Ireland back to work.

An employer helpline will be provided with the assistance of the National Disability Authority, to provide expert guidance and support to employers in relation to hiring staff with disabilities.

Mr Kenny said disabled people should get support as early as possible.

“We know already that young people with disabilities who do work experience during their school years, and in particular paid work, have a significantly-higher employment rate thereafter.”

He said many people living with disability wanted to work and wanted to feel the sense of belonging to the workforce, “something the rest of us who have jobs take for granted”.

The Taoiseach said the strategy published on Friday would provide a “bridge” to the workforce.

Ms Burton stressed disabled people would not be in a position where they feared losing entitlements or that they would not qualify again for social supports if, for some reason, a job doesn’t work out.