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Ireland fares well in EU-wide disability and jobs survey


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Ireland has one of the lowest levels of workers limited in what they can do because of a disability, European data suggests.

In 2011, about 19pc of all 15 to 64-year-olds in the 28 EU member states had some limitation at work, ranging from 10pc in Ireland and 11pc in Spain and the Czech Republic, to around 50pc in Cyprus and Hungary, according to data compiled by Europe's statistical agency, Eurostat, from a labour force survey.

Personal or environmental factors only was the main reason given in 13 countries.

In Cyprus and Hungary, it accounted for as many as three out of every four people limited in their work activity.

A long-standing health problem or a basic activity difficulty only was the main reason reported in the 18 other countries, including Ireland.

Analysing the personal or environmental factors limiting access to work, the lack of suitable job opportunities was the biggest factor, quoted by 31pc of the working-age population.

Over half of people in Bulgaria, Estonia, Greece, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia cited this factor.

Over 25pc of people in Bulgaria, Austria and Finland cited a lack of qualifications or experience, while the biggest factor in Ireland, at 38pc, was family or other caring responsibilities.

Other factors, for example a lack of transport and inflexible employers, together accounted for over 60pc of the population in Iceland, Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark.

In 2011, more than one in three people throughout the EU were subject to a work limitation caused by a chronic health problem or an activity difficulty were also limited by other personal or environmental factors.

Among those restricted in the work they can do by both a long-term health problem and an activity difficulty, the following countries reported the largest proportions of people limited in their work by personal or environmental factors: Hungary and Romania (both 75pc), Poland (72pc), the United Kingdom (69pc) and Cyprus (56pc).

The proportion was 10pc in France and lower in Switzerland (at 3pc), Turkey (6pc), Latvia (7pc), Denmark and Sweden (both 8 pc) and Portugal (9pc).

Personal or environmental limitations on work were far less common among people not suffering from a chronic health problem or activity difficulty. The percentage varied from under 2pc in the Czech Republic, Spain, Latvia, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey to over 40pc in Cyprus.

Among personal or environmental reasons restricting ability to work, 27pc of women reported 'family and other caring responsibilities' as the main factor, while only 6pc of men mentioned this.

In Iceland, 42pc of women cited this factor, while the figure was 56pc in Ireland.

Irish Independent