A bill which will increase the public sector target for employment of persons with disabilities from 3% to 6% by 2024 passed committee stage in the Dáil today.
The Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016, will also facilitate Ireland's ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by amending existing legislation.
Minister of State with Responsibility for Disability Finian McGrath said the passage of the bill had been slower that he would have liked, because it was highly complex and intertwined with other pieces of legislation.
Mr McGrath said the employment targets were a welcome development. "Leadership within the public sector in this regard is a crucial step in transforming attitudes across the employment market".
He also said there was a need for more people with disabilities to be represented in politics.
Mr McGrath said the bill would facilitate the participation of persons with certain disabilities on juries and removing barriers to their standing for election, and improving the standard of reasonable accommodation by certain service providers.
Mr McGrath said the enactment of the bill would also clarify the position of deaf jurors.
He told the committee that he was concerned about the funding situation of the Irish Deaf Society and this was something he was "actively pursuing". The society has previously warned it faced closure due to funding difficulties.
Independent4Change TD Mick Wallace asked why the society's funding situation has been allowed to get to this stage.
Mr McGrath said he was "actively involved" and hoped to get it resolved this week. He said he had been "very upset" because a funding plan for the society "didn't happen" the way he wanted, adding that he had raised it twice at Government meetings.
An amendment from Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire to ensure polling booths were accessible was also passed by the committee.
"This should be the situation as it stands. People shouldn't be in a position where they are potentially denied the right to vote or it is made extremely difficult for them to vote because the polling station is practically or completely inaccessible," Mr Ó Laoghaire told members.