26 September 2023

IRELAND: PM calls for diversity targets

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Irelands Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Leo Varadkar (pictured) has called for targets for recruiting people from ethnic minorities into the country’s Public Service.

Speaking in the Dáil (Parliament), Mr Varadkar said young people needed to see “black and brown school principals, judges, perhaps a Cinn Comhairle (Speaker of the House) in the future”.

Mr Varadkar said Ireland’s health service was very diverse in lower grades, but less so in senior positions.

“The gardaí (police), the defence forces, and the education sector are far less diverse,” Mr Varadkar said.

Overall, the Public Service was very white — “and that needs to change”.

“Dedicated recruitment campaigns are needed to ensure the workforce is more inclusive,” he said.

In 2017 the Government set an action plan for migrant integration with a one per cent target for the employment of migrants and people from minority ethnic communities in the Public Service.

Last year, Mr Varadkar asked the Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris and Vice-Admiral Mark Mellett, the Defence Forces’ Chief of Staff, to increase the racial diversity of the gardaí and armed forces to reflect demographics.

“A modern Civil Service should mirror our modern society,” Mr Varadkar said.

“This is not about quotas. It is about trying to ensure that the make-up of our politics, Civil Service, Defence Forces and the gardaí reflect and resemble the modern Ireland, the Republic, all around us,” he said.

Dublin, 13 June 2020

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