Standing Orders for the Dáil and Seanad will be changed today to allow for three Oireachtas Committees to consider labour activation for people with disabilities
Oireachtas Standing Orders will be changed today to allow three committees to jointly discuss labour activation of people with disabilities - currently only two Oireachtas Committees can meet to progress their work. This innovation arose following a suggestion by Senator John Dolan at the Social Protection and Employment Affairs committee. He then highlighted the added value, which would accrue when any three Departments with an interest in an issue could meet and make decisions thereby making the entire process more efficient and effective.
Senator Dolan who is a member of the Health committee said, “I was very surprised to find that standing orders do not allow for more than two committees to meet. So many barriers to employment for persons with disabilities need complementary actions across a range of departments. It is vital that Oireachtas committees can jointly meet with Ministers, officials and stakeholders. I see particular merit in the Committees on Social Protection and Employment Affairs; Education and Skills and Health meeting on disability related issues ”
“It is very important to create this kind of opportunity for joined up thinking between Oireachtas committees to address the full life experience of people with a disability in Ireland. The committees will be able to examine the current obstacles and supports for those with disabilities and seek out opportunities to address all the areas of social protection, employment, education and health. As a member of the committee for employment and social protection, one of my priorities has been to promote routes into education and participation in society and I believe that this combined meeting is a valuable opportunity to drive forward this area of work for people with a disability” stated Senator Alice Mary Higgins, a member of the Social Protection committee
Senator Lynn Ruane, a member of the Education and Skills committee said "real life does not fit neatly into a single government department or Oireachtas Committee. The State needs to respond with joined up thinking across departments to social issues with disability employment activation being a perfect example. I am delighted that three committees are collaborating to find innovative and evidence-driven responses to the challenges facing our disabled citizens in finding employment and I hope it will serve as a future model for how such similar issues can be examined and tackled in the future."
At this Thursday’s (3rd May) meeting the Disability Federation of Ireland and Inclusion Ireland together with people with disabilities will present to the members of three committees. (Social Protection and Employment Affairs; Education and Skills - and Health) At a later date it is planned that officials from all three departments will be before these committees on disability related issues.