Third of disabled adults in work
Published 16/01/2013 | 00:25
Just over a third of adults with a disability in Ireland are employed - less than half the rate of the rest of the population, a new report has shown.
Researchers said international evidence showed the number of disabled people with a job here could rise from 36% to 50% if the right supports were put in place.
Report author Dorothy Watson, associate research professor at the government-funded think-tank ESRI, said Ireland fares badly compared with EU neighbours.
"Even allowing for differences across countries, and how likely people are to admit they have a disability, it looks like the labour market participation rate is low in Ireland compared to other European countries," she said.
Ms Watson said there were a number of reasons for Ireland's low disability employment rate.
These included the country's relatively late approach in treating the matter as an equality issue and government unemployment policies which tended to overlook minorities, such as the disabled or, for example, lone parents.
Ms Watson said the UK has a similar percentage of the population who consider themselves to have a disability.
But disabled adults in Britain were 50% more likely to have a job than in Ireland, she said.
"There is considerable room to enable more people with a disability to enter employment in Ireland," she added.
"Irish and international evidence suggests that, given the right circumstances and supports, about half of working-age people with a disability could be at work instead of the present figure of just over a third."