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Taoiseach favours setting targets to make the health service, schools and the civil service more diverse

The Taoiseach says the civil service is currently ‘very white’.

The Taoiseach said the civil service is 'very white' and that needs to change.
The Taoiseach said the civil service is 'very white' and that needs to change.

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has said there should be targets set for recruiting people from ethnic minorities for public service roles.

Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon, he said young people need to see “black and brown school principals, judges, cinn comhairle perhaps in the future”.

He said Ireland’s health service is “very diverse” but less so in senior positions.

Varadkar said the gardaí, the defence forces, and the education sector is far less diverse.

The civil service “is very white”, he added, stating “that actually needs to change”.

Dedicated recruitment campaigns are needed to ensure the workforce is more inclusive, Varadkar told the Dáil.

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In 2017, the government’s action plan for migrant integration set a 1% target for the employment of migrants and people from minority ethnic communities in the civil service.

Last year, the Taoiseach asked the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris as well as Vice-Admiral Mark Mellett, the Defence Forces’ chief of staff, to increase the racial diversity of the gardai and armed forces to reflect demographics.

The Taoiseach told The Sunday Times at the time that “a modern civil service should mirror our modern society. This is not about quotas. It is about trying to ensure that the make-up of our politics, civil service, Defence Forces and gardaí reflect and resemble the modern Ireland, the Republic, all around us”.

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